Mar 1, 2014 - HELPFUL HINTS    No Comments


When it comes to a holiday spread or, perhaps, a party of friends, cheese trays are an easy accompaniment for appetizers and snacks.

Here’s a tip to take them over the edge and be the talk of the party.


Use the cookie cutters of any shape (leaves for fall, footballs for the SuperBowl, bunnies for Easter – you’re only limited by your imagination!)
Use them to cut the cheese…er, on the table that is!  OR

Coarsely chop (if your cheese isn’t already grated) and place in micro-wave safe measuring cup (or melt fondue style on the stove…)
When cheese is melted and pourable, pour into the candy molds.

Refrigerate for about 20 minutes to set.  Remove from the molds by flexing the mold.

Cheese is a dairy product.  You’ll want to refrigerate it until serving.

Remember, type of cheese and pattern of cookie cutter or candy mold is only limited by your imagination.  HOW CHEESY!!

Jan 19, 2010 - ORIGINAL BITS & PIECES    No Comments


Excuse me, Sir. Visiting hours will be over soon.

The nurse standing next to me was earnest in blue. The cheery matching floral uniform top belied the antiseptic smell of chemistry and the otherwise thin line between life and death. I didn’t realize how much energy I was expending upon this decision until my feverish fingers felt the shock of cold metal as they surrounded the handle to the entrance of the patient’s room

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Jan 22, 2009 - OF DRAGONS AND HORSES    No Comments

Festival of Lights

Filly was enthralled.  She had been honored to be sent by her school on a special expedition to the Northern parts.  She took her best blanket and left with the Appaloosa, the English Mare and the American Buffalo.  The animals were led to a fairyland in the North where it was veeeeerrrrrry, veeeerrrrrrrry cold, but veeeeeerrrrry, veeeeerrrrry worth the journey. Read more »

Aug 12, 2008 - OF DRAGONS AND HORSES    2 Comments

Christmas Traditions

Filly knew that Christmas was coming and she would be far away from her own Sunset Meadow and the traditions of the horses there.  But she was eager to share what she had always done with her new found friends and to learn of their traditions in return. Only a small part of the Chinese population is Christian, as Christianity is not an officially sanctioned religion in China.  Therefore, Spring Festival becomes a greater holiday than the celebration of Christmas.  Chinese Christians are the main proponents of Christmas.

The Chinese make paper lanterns to decorate their homes. 
Trees are expensive and not often used, but if they are, they are a Tree of Light adorned with paper chains, paper flowers and paper lanterns. These trees are usually artificial.
Friends and relatives give each other red envelopes containing lucky money as a gift for the Chinese New Year.  Although, not to be outdone, if foreigners are celebrating then students and teachers alike will go out of their way to outdo each other with the ‘best, most precious’ gift.  So since you all are out doing your Christmas shopping, I thought I’d enlighten you to what you can expect from your Chinese friends:

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These cork pictures are probably the preferred gift.  You will receive several, so better make room on you wall and shelves for prominence of display.

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Everyone should be so lucky!!  That is why you will receive at least 10-15 of these Buddha statues in every state of the great one’s most enlightened repose.  Especially nice touch, the laughing children playing with the Buddha.

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Make room on your doors and in prominent wall places for your Chinese calligraphy’s.  You will receive many on fragile paper, with wonderful, auspicious poems about travelling to the top of the mountain to see further than at the bottom…kind of akin to our proverb quotes (think can’t understand a man until you walk a mile in his moccasins type stuff).

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The Chinese fan.  All sizes, colors and decor.  Material varies from paper to balsa wood carved.  And the presentation box for the fan is just as important as the fan, so you’ll want to make room for these beautiful keepsakes. There will be silk purses filled with lucky Chinese coins, Fu dogs and Dragons.  There will be no end to items themed around your Chinese Zodiac animal (post cards, stamps, bookmarks, paintings, silks).  Chinese stamps will prove to be a popular item and artsy in their own right.  You will also receive pieces of jade jewelry (rings, bracelets, pendants) that have been infused with the power of Buddha’s blessing. And then there are these:

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Fu (Happiness), Lu (Wealth), and Shou (Longevity) figurines.  You will get a least 3 sets of them, so be prepared to prominently display them within your shelves of gifts alongside the statuary of goddesses, Buddhas and zodiac animals.  The Chinese are big on wishing symbolic prosperity, happiness and health.  Their paintings and calligraphy’s are heaped with symbolism (such as 2 cranes or 5 cranes good, 3 cranes not so good!! Large Sun good, half moon not so good!!) Perhaps the most lovely and yet, the most fragile thing you will receive:

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Chinese paper cuts.  Beautifully designed and yet fragile because they are made solely from a tissue type paper.  They are best stored until proper framing can take place. Filly was overwhelmed by the generous well-wishes of her new found friends, as was her barn stall which was now prosperously decorated and overflowing with well-intentioned gifts.

Aug 12, 2008 - OF DRAGONS AND HORSES    1 Comment

Show Horse

Filly had acclimated quite well to her new world.  She became a show horse that was paraded at every available opportunity and forced to perform simple circus tricks in addition to her regular duties.  Filly found herself quite exhausted, yet she did what she was told.
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Jun 25, 2008 - OF DRAGONS AND HORSES    No Comments

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

Filly was cold! It was cold during the daytime and it was cold during the night time. Biting cold!! Not enough hay or blankets could warm her. It was about that time that she began to realize why people here did certain things a certain way. Read more »