Friday, April 24, 2009

It's Little League and Soccer Season

This time of year holds many memories for me. Both of my sons were involved in Little League. I remember coming home from work and going straight to the baseball field to help out at the concession stand. I remember watching either from the bleachers or the stand my late husband out there coaching his team the Phillies. They were a brand new team and most of these players were inexperienced as far as playing the game.

My husband Bob loved to win. He was a very competitive person. He himself played tennis and was rated at a high level that enabled him to also coach and give lessons in that sport. His tennis team did go on to win a few championships for their school.

But when it came to baseball, yes he certainly loved to see his team win. Except I think that what was even more important to him was that every kid got the chance to play in the game. During the drafting period where coaches got together on the field to choose the players, my husband not only picked the best players for his team, but he picked those who would still need some work, and those who at first did appear to measure up to the rest of the players. For his team Bob picked the first girl to every play in the league. He also picked a young boy who was born with an undeveloped hand. These two were overlooked by other coaches, either that or simply ignored.

Bob felt every kid should have a chance to play in a sport if they wanted to play. The Phillies never went on to win any championship, but they did well and did win enough of their games during the six years that Bob coached that built confidence in the players that I'm sure carried through into their adulthood years later. (Most of these players are now into their late 30's, and maybe early 40's.)

This week one of my sons will be watching his daughter and his son play in soccer practices or games. I'll also go and watch when I can. My other son spends time on a baseball field watching his young son play T-Ball.

Each of them know it doesn't matter if you win or lose, what matters is you get to play in a sport that you want to play. No more. No Less.

Of course it's always a plus when the teams wins. Everyone involved in these sports is a champion and a winner.

I know Bob is looking down from Heaven on his sons and his grandchildren, and he's right there rooting for them every step of the way. Of course I do get sad wishing that he were there beside me instead on this side of life rather than in Heaven standing in that way he usually stands, with arms folded, and wearing his faded favorite jeans and his light blue knit shirt. How tickled he would be to see his grandkids involved in sport. His other granddaughter is a very good tennis player.

The little boy with the undeveloped hand inspired a story for which I am now finding a new publisher. It's a story that when it was available to the reading public before the publishers closed their doors, did receive excellent reviews and I was told this is a story that stays with the reader way after they finish the story.

I think that's what happens when we as writers write from snippets of our own lives because those snippets pretty much tell a story that most are familiar with and most have experienced.

This story titled No More Secrets, No More Lies reminds us to make memories with our kids because in turn they will then go on and make memories with their children, our grandchildren. And in the process these memories keep going through future generations.

Immune Boosting Smoothie


Children often don't feel like eating following a cold or illness. Their nutrition suffers and their immune system suffers. This accounts for the common occurrence of getting one infection after another. It's best to keep so well nourished that the nutritional reserves can withstand several days of poor eating. Drink this smoothie daily upon school entry in September, upon beginning daycare, upon exposure to a contagious illness, or when you or your child feels a cold coming on.

· 2 cups milk or soy or rice beverage

· 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt

· 1 serving of a multinutrient supplement

· one frozen banana, cut up

· 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

· 1/2 cup each of your favorite fruit, frozen (e.g., organic strawberries, papaya, mango)

· 1 tbsp. flax oil or 2 tbsp. flaxseed meal (Because fiber steadies the absorption of carbohydrates and therefore contributes to a steadier blood sugar we suggest using rich sources of fiber, such as flaxseed meal (i.e., ground flax seeds, containing both the oil and fiber), although flax oil has a more palatable consistency than flaxseed meal. For additional fiber, if you don't mind an even grainier texture, add 1 tbsp. or more of oat bran.)

· 3 ounces tofu

· 10 mg. zinc

· 100 mcg. selenium

· 50-100 IU vitamin E

· 1 serving soy isolate powder (optional)

· 2 tbsp. peanut butter (optional)

Combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve immediately after blending while the mixture still has a bubbly milkshake-like consistency.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Some of us have kids or grandkids who are "finicky" eaters. We want them to eat healthy but what if they simply refuse to eat certain foods. My five year old grandson has suffered ear infections, sore throats, etc almost since birth. Last year he had his tonsils removed. He had tubes put into his ears for drainage. He's had his adenoids removed. His tonsils were so swollen at one point he refused to eat any meat. You can't blame him. As a result he developed into a bit of a finicky eater.

He is improving as his parents are always trying to encourage him to eat good things, and are patient with him as well.

Last night he and his mom came over for a little while. I had made Portuguese Kale Soup and asked if he wanted to try some. His mom and I both had nofgreat expectations that he would eat it. So you can imagine our surprise when after finishing the first small bowl, he wanted another, and then another. Our eyes lit up because this soup is chocked full with nutritients.

I think it produces the right blends of vegetables and even fruit (tomatoes) that is quite appealing to every palate. I know I usually have a least two bowls of this stuff at a time.

Today I'm going out and getting more of these ingredients and making an extra big pot of it so that I can bring over a large container to both of my sons' houses. Hey, what are grandmother's for anyways? Even if I'm not Portuguese I love this soup. I do have a Portuguese friend who remembers his mom making this soup all the time. I guess you can say it's a memory maker as well.

I'm sharing the recipe here for those who may want to try it especially if they have little ones who are finicky eaters.


1 pound kale 2 tablespoons butter
1 pound small red potatoes 8 cups Basic Chicken Broth (I buy the fat
free canned chicken broth)
1 cup chopped onions Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup chopped carrots
3 pounds tomatoes (I buy the large canned either diced or crushed tomatoes)
2 cloves garlic
1 pound chorizo (or linguica) sausage (The linguica is not as spicy.)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I use olive oil)

1 Strip the kale leaves off their stems and cut diagonally into wide slices. Dice the potatoes. Chop the onions and carrots. Peel, seed, and chop the tomatoes. Mince the garlic. Prick the sausage and boil it in water for 5 to 10 minutes to release the fat; drain and cut it into 1/2-inch slices.

2. In a soup pot, heat the oild and butter together. Saute the oinion, carrots, and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, reduce toa simmer, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. With a masher or the back of a cooking spoon, mash most of the potatoes against the side of the pot.

4. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add both the kale and the sausage slices, cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.

And that's it!

This soup tastes great the next day and the next, if there's any left over.

And of course it'll taste great with freshly made bread.

Since I'm Italian, for an Italian touch, I add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese when serving.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Free Dental Clinic in my State

I was just listening to the news this morning. A free dental clinic was held here in my state. And the response was from what I saw overwhelming. They had to turn away over a thousand people. That is sad. Dental health is important to our overall health as poor dental health can cause problems or indicate there is a problem in other areas. For one heart problems. Another is poor nutrition, the inability to eat properly because of ill fitting dentures, or tooth loss.

I pay for my health care insurance. In fact I'm sure that come this July it will probably reach $500 a month for a single person, and since I live on a fixed income that is going to be an added struggle for me. Unless of course I sell more of my stories which will help defray the cost.

And I don't dare let the insurance lapse and try my darndest to get that monthly check into the mail and pay that monthly premium.

I recently had a root canal procedure which cost $1025 of which the insurance paid for $900. But actually what it comes down to is my handing over the monies to the insurance company who in turn hand over the monies to my dentist. The Explanation of Benefits was confusing at best. Dentist Submitted Fee was $1025. Allowable Contracted Fee $900. Amount not covered $125. Amount My Plan Pays $720. And the bottom line is I now owe $180. Maybe I should have this done at the ER because then I only have to pay a co-pay of $25. My last visit to the ER was close to $3,000. You can see how this can be confusing to anyone dealing with health insurance finance issues.

On the other hand, I know someone whose healthcare is through "socialized" healthcare. When she goes to her doctor, which can take weeks to set up an appointment, she feels she does not get as good a care as she would like. They will never schedule tests they feel are unnecessary. They will pooh pooh her aching ailments and write them off as either anxiety attacks, or just plain stress.

I feel when I go have a dental procedure done I do get very good care. This last root canal was made quite comfortable for me, and basically although I dread going to the dentist at every visit, I will continue to go to my dentist because of his professional manner and quality care.

Basically you get what you pay for and I feel since I'm the one paying, that I am getting good quality care. So far two of my doctors I've been with close to thirty years.

I do feel though everyone should have access to quality healthcare in this country. There really is no excuse not to. Considering the number of people who are in need of this, I don't see any reason why it can't be more affordable for them.

Healthy people make a healthy nation.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

No More Secrets No More Lies

is temporarily unavailable due to the publisher closing its doors and now looking for a new home.

This is another story given four and five stars from reviewers. It should not be sitting in my hard drive unavailable to the reading public. I'm doing my best to find it a good home. One nice thing about epublished books they have a very long life span. And hopefully this story will re-emerge soon for those who love a great uplifting romance!

Marie Roy

Whoo! Whoo! Great Review for Stormbound!

Here's the link where you can read the entire review! They gave it 4 STARS!