Feb 18, 2018

Procrastination has a deadline

What is on your bucket list?  We call a list of things that we want to do before we pass away a "bucket list" or before we "kick the bucket." As you age time goes by faster than you realize and before you know it your lifespan is nearly to the end. Most people scramble to get it all in before they are no longer able to able to get around like they did in their younger years.  I want to encourage you to move quickly and not look back.  You are not going in that direction. 

Jan 21, 2018

Empowering Women

The fog never lifted today. It had rained during the night and the ground was still wet. A Women's Rally was planned at 1 p.m. and I wondered if anyone would show up. I was so wrong. 

Several hundred people showed up, men and women.  If it had been a ball game, then at least a thousand men would have lined the streets to support their team.  Aren't we supposed to be a team?

Courtney Tritch, who is a candidate for Congress, attended this gathering, promoting equality for women. 

I was glad to see that a lot of men attended to support the rights of women.  A Muslim man gladly posed for me and thanked me graciously for taking his picture.   

 In Islam, the mother is greatly honored. It is said that paradise is beneath her feet.  All mothers are precious and deserve the highest of honor with or without a rally. 

Fifty percent of the population is female, but it is the other half that has the power.  Men hold more key positions in our economy than women.  Don't get me wrong.  Women's rights have made great strides in the last century.  We can work, own land, vote,and go wherever we want to. The equality in pay still needs some work done. 

Did you know that 75 percent of the teachers in the United States were women? However, only three percent are on the Board. There are more women than men who work in hospitals, but men are generally in the key positions. I could go on and on. 

A couple of HAMILTON inspired signs made me want to sing.  I bet Lin-Manuel Miranda would have never thought that some lines from his musical would be material for the Women's Movement. 

The fact that so many men, young and old, came to support women thrilled me.  Maybe, someday soon, this will be a non-issue. Do you think that men and women can exist equally?

Nov 8, 2017

My own version of Piada's Carbonara Pasta Bowl

There is a wonderful little place to eat in Indianapolis called Piada.  It is Italian street food.  Not the Italian food that is heavily laden with that awful red sauce which every dish on the menu is immersed in. This is healthy stuff.  Delicious to the eyes and the palate.  And every time I am in the area I go out of my way to eat there. I was in Indy over the weekend with a few friends and I literally begged all the way hoping that my friends would try it. They gave in and we enjoyed a wonderful meal, especially me.     

It would be expensive to drive nearly two hours for a pasta fix on a frequent basis. So, I decided to try and make my own version of what I ate. Trust me, this is very simple and why I didn't do this a long time ago is beyond me. 


1 lb angel hair pasta, cooked according to the directions on the box

2-3 chopped tomatoes, I used Roma or use sun dried tomatoes

1-2 tsp Italian blend seasoning or to taste.  Mrs. Dash Italian Medley is my favorite

1/4 to 1/2 cup of spinach leaves or greens of your choice.  You can use a salad mix also (which is what I did)

Pancetta, (Italian bacon) Optional

1 jar of Alfredo sauce or a sauce that you like on pasta

I package of meat balls or 1 lb of cooked chicken or a meat of your choice or no meat at all

Prepare the meat of your choice and set aside. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Heat the Alfredo sauce until it is nice and hot.  Place the pasta in a bowl, toss with the sauce, tomatoes, meat, and greens.  Serve immediately. 

  • You can toss the pasta in olive oil with salt\pepper to taste if you want to save calories.
  • Look around the pasta isle at the store and experiment.  There are hot sauces called Diavolo (devil) if you like a bit of a kick. 
  • add corn, cucumber, olives, cheese, garbanzo beans, etc. 

Oct 17, 2017

Sauteed Dandelion Greens with Cabbage and Onion

Even though I grew up in the North, we ate Southern food. I grew up eating fried cabbage with bacon grease, salt, and pepper.  But as I grew older and didn't have a regular supply of bacon grease on hand, I searched for alternate healthier options to cook my favorite greens. 

A month or so ago a friend and I went to Dearborn, Michigan for the weekend.  While there I tried some Mediterranean food.  Dandelion greens were in the showcase for purchase. When we got back to the hotel I took my first bite.  They were delicious and surprisingly not bitter. I need to learn how to cook these greens!

When I got back home I tried to cook them and failed miserably. The dandelion greens were extremely bitter. Surely there is a secret? I asked a friend what her mother would do to eliminate some of the bitterness. I've had this dish three times in the last two weeks. I am going to share with you what I discovered.

I used  Victoria Taylor's Moroccan spice blend.  I use this in a lot of dishes, especially on baked chicken and vegetables or in fried coucous salad. But you can use whatever spices you prefer on your greens.  


1\2 head of cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 TSP Victoria Moroccan Spice Blend or to taste, I am very generous with this 
salt\pepper to taste
1 Knorr bouillon chicken cube 
1\4 tsp sugar
2-3 TBS olive oil
2 TBS Ghee, clarified butter or regular, I like the taste of butter and oil together
2 bunches of dandelion greens, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Place the dandelion greens in the water and boil until tender. About 7-10 minutes. Boiling the greens helps to take out the majority of the bitterness. I usually cook two bunches at a time. Once they are done cooking drain in a colander.  Squeeze out the excess water with a spoon by pressing the greens against the side of the colander. 

On medium heat add the oil and butter to a large non stick pan.  Once the oil is hot add the onion. Saute until translucent.  Then add the cabbage.  At this point add the salt, pepper,  Moroccan spice blend ,and bouillon cube.  Cook until tender.  

Move the cabbage and onion mixture to one side of the pan and add the dandelion greens to the other. 

Sprinkle with a little salt and the sugar. Saute for about 5 minutes and then mix everything together in the pan.

Serve immediately.  I like to eat this with beans and cornbread.  If you cannot find the Moroccan Spice blend that I used then use your favorite.  There is no right way or wrong way for this recipe.  You are the chef, experiment. 

Oct 1, 2017


Isness. What an odd word. Upon first looking at the word it has the appearance of incompleteness. Could there be letters missing? I asked myself.  I have never heard of this word until yesterday, that is, until I watched the movie called, Third Star, with Benedict Cumberbatch and JJ Field. According to the Miriam-Webster dictionary it means the state of things as they are. 

As I researched the word a little more I discovered that Martin Luther King Jr used the word in one of his speeches:  " I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him." 

The root is being in the "present moment". I often think about how much we are wishing our lives away waiting for the weekend. Are we experiencing isness during our work week? Our minds go beyond the here and now more frequently than we realize, especially mine.  

Sometimes, I find myself sitting and starring at the computer in a daze, forgetting completely what I was doing, thinking about life as it should be. Then I come back to reality and pound away on the keyboard some more.

But "Isness' is more than about being present, I think. It is being. Being who we are and what we are meant to be. Our essence. When God spoke to Moses from a flame out of the midst of bush and said, "I am that I am" referring to his "isness", took the whole concept to another level.  "Is" seems hard to define with words or labels.  It is neither here or there, but now, this moment, ourselves. 

Sep 15, 2017

Pick a Peck: Jane, Adam, Jacob, or William...

I was thrilled when I decided to start researching the parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc...of the people who married into my Campbell family.  I was thrilled by some of my discoveries and some things I had a hard time wrapping my head around. 

Jane Peck (sometimes called Jenny) married Archibald Campbell in Jefferson County, Tennessee on August 9, 1806. She was the daughter of Adam Peck and Elizabeth Sharkey who came from Virginia in 1788 to Mossy Creek (now called Jefferson City), Tennessee. My Campbell relatives were living in the Dandridge and Greene area at the time. The government wanted the people of Virginia to move west and build up this country. 

Adam Peck served as an ensign in the Maryland line of the Revolutionary War. He was a member of the House, and 1st & 2nd Assemblies from 1796-1799. As a member of the the 1st Assembly of the state, he helped draft the Constitution of the State of Tennessee. 

On my way to Georgia a few weeks ago, I stopped at Westview Cemetery, Jefferson City, Tennessee and took a picture of his bronze monument below. Jacob and William Raine Peck is also buried there. 

Adam Peck and his wife Elizabeth set up house in an abandoned fort or blockhouse beside a spring until their own cabin was built. By 1797 between 75-100 families settled within a four mile radius of Mossy Creek. My Campbell family was one of them. Then children came into the picture.

One was a son named Jacob Peck. Jane (who married Archibald Campbell) is Jacob's sister and my 5 x's great grandmother.  Jacob was judge of the Supreme Court of Tennessee from 1822-1835 and prior to that in 1821 he was state senator for Greene and Jefferson counties in Tennessee. Afterwards Jacob Peck and Daniel Ashmore were granted a patent on a machine for cutting and collecting the heads of grain and grasses. (See the Journal of the Franklin Institute of the state of Pennsylvania, Thomas P. Jones.) Judge Peck was one of the founders of Emory and Henry College in Emory, Virginia. 

I found a picture of him on line and I must say, he was a very handsome man. 

Check Geni.com for the image of Jacob Peck.

Jacob married Sophia Talbot and their family grew. They had a son named William Raine Peck. 

He was born in rural Mossy Creek in Jefferson County, Tennessee. I read several publications that said his height ranged from 6 foot 2 inches to 6 foot 8 inches tall with a body mass to match, almost mythical in dimensions. A giant of a man in the days when people were considerably shorter. William Raine Peck came from a line of men that had political power in the founding of this country after the Revolutionary War. When he was young William bought a plantation across the Mississippi River from Vicksburg, Mississippi. His plantation prospered and he became one of the wealthiest men in the region due to his "free labor".   As I researched his life I was amazed at the number of slaves that he owned. Some of which were Mulatto. According to the 1850 Slave Schedule for Madison Parrish, Louisiana he owned 45 slaves and in 1860 the number jumped to 53. It is estimated that he made approximately $30,000 a year from the plantation. 

Picture from Wikipedia

Around 1861 William enlisted as a private in the 9th Louisiana Infantry.  He was sent to Virginia but arriving too late for any participation in the battle that had been in the area. 

During the Gettysburg Campaign he was involved with the Battle of Winchester and the Battle of Gettysburg. At this time he was promoted to captain and then on to a lieutenant in a short amount of time. On October 8, 1863 Peck was promoted to colonel of the 9th Louisiana to succeed Leroy A. Stafford.  He lead the regiment in the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor during the Overland Campaign.  Due to a thigh injury in 1864 he was out of commission for a while. Peck returned to the battlefield in December of 1864 and in February of 1865 he was promoted to Brigadier General. On June 6th the same year he was paroled. 

After the war, William returned to Louisiana and continued running his plantation with much success. However he had to sign a Confederate Application for Presidential Pardon swearing that he will faithfully support all laws and proclamations, including the emancipation of slaves. This come at a cost to him. But no more dear than the lives he held captive for decades serving him for free. He died at the tender age of 52 and Peck's remains were sent back to Tennessee to be buried along side other members of his family. 

Jul 23, 2017

A view from the boat on the Detroit River

Last weekend a friend and I took a mini vacation. We traveled to Detroit and then made our way around the city.  It was our goal to go on a river tour, which I love doing. We climbed onto Diamond Jack's boat and sailed along the river. The sky was ever changing that day.  

Ambassador Bridge

One minute it would be bright and you could see the blue sky and ten minutes later it was clouded over.  I stood at the hull of the ship and tried to take in as much as I could of the scenery. I felt like I was in a different world.  And I was. 

Orthodox church on the river front, Windsor, Ontario

This is a few shots that I took and worked on yesterday.  The church intrigued me with its missing top on one of the steeples that was rust stained down the sides. I wanted the picture to look like a painting or an old postcard. The narrator told us the name of the church but without pen or paper it is lost to me. 

Detroit Princess
I wished that my passport was updated so that we could have gone across the Ambassador Bridge and explored this church. Maybe have fish and chips or tea and scones or both. 

The luckiest people live next to water or mountains, preferably both.  But I live in corn fields, where the land is flat.  

Jun 17, 2017

In the year 1812: On being a widow and the Lover's Eye

The war of 1812 isn't discussed much in the history books.  At lease, that I can remember. A few days again I encountered this woman at the Old Fort in Fort Wayne.  The Old Fort was up and running filled with actors portraying people from the time period.

As we walked towards the Fort we encountered a woman sitting in a tent with shear curtains all around it. It had several chairs inside so that when someone came in they could sit and chat a while. The woman was wearing very heavy white makeup, rouge, and thickly drawn eyebrows. During that time period the white foundation was made with lead and fats, which could be deadly. But beauty must come at a cost. Only the wealthy women during the 1800's wore this kind of makeup. 

She called herself Lady Liddington. On this day she was my history teacher. 

On her left hand there was a black onyx ring with a diamond in the middle to show others that her husband has passed away. A tiny pin fastened to her dress in the front contained a lock of hair from both she and her husband. A part of him will always be with her. The dark purple dress signifies that she is still mourning but not deep mourning. This also means that she is not interested in training another husband, because the first one was difficult enough. 

By the widow's side a miniature portrait of Lord Liddington was securely fastened into a picture frame and draped with a black scarf sitting neatly on a small table. The detail of the portrait was amazing for an item that was so small. Lady Liddington went on to say that during the same time period portraits were drawn of an eye. This eye miniature could be that of a child, spouse, lover, etc...These portraits could we worn as a bracelet, necklace, brooch, ring, or pendant. The fad began in the 1700's and the miniature became known as "Lover's Eye." Sometimes a lock of hair was incorporated into the portrait. This sounds a bit romantic to me. 

Jun 15, 2017

Ketner's Mill, Whitwell, Tennessee

I think that is was love at first sight for me when we drove up the road trying to find an old mill that we had heard of.  The dam was built on the Sequatchie River in Whitwell, Tennessee by early settlers to the area. 

In 1824, three orphans, David, George, and Elizabeth Ketner arrived in Sequatchie Valley, Tennessee. 

Ketner's Mill is named after David's son Alexander, who built the mill in 1868 and it ran fairly steady until 1992 when the mill closed its doors.  

The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The mill is surrounded by small mountains and an abundance of trees. On the third weekend in October a fair is held at Ketner's Mill and people gather together to buy and sell their arts and crafts.  This year the country arts fair will take place October 21-22.  

But if you need to get away for a couple of hours before then, bring yourself a chair, sit down, and listen to the sound of the running water.  I would like to be there right now. 

The address is 658 Ketner Mill Lane, Whitwell, Tennessee. 

Jun 4, 2017

Silverdale Confederate Cemetery, Chattanooga, Tennessee

While visiting Chattanooga last weekend my cousin and stumbled upon a cemetery that I had never heard of before. 

It is located at 7714 Lee Highway next to McKay's Books, which was our intended destination.  As we flew down the street my cousin saw the Confederate Cemetery first and I was just as thrilled as she was to explore it. This was our first time seeing a cemetery like this. 

After loading the car with at least 50 books and DVD's we headed back down the street.  We turned onto the narrow driveway and hoped that no one else was coming back down. 

There are 155 unknown soldiers who are buried in this small graveyard.  Can you imagine that many men who have not been returned to their families? Relatives not knowing where their husband, son, or nephew is buried.  This was disturbing to me. 

Once inside there was only a few markers.  Initially the soldiers had wooden markers with name, rank, and division but they decayed over time. There were no records of the men who were buried there.  The cemetery is surrounded by a stone fence with a large gate in the front. 

From what I understand the soldiers fought in the Battle of Perryville and were brought back to Chattanooga to recover. 

All of the burials took place between July-December of 1862. Below is an excerpt from Thunder Creek Harley Davidson web site that gives a brief synopsis of the cemetery. 

General Braxton Bragg succeeded General Beauregard as commander of the Army of Mississippi shortly after the Battle of Shiloh and on July 21, 1862 ordered 27,816 men to Chattanooga, Tennessee in preparation for his famed Kentucky campaign. These men had been in camps in northern Mississippi where poor water, shallow wells, mosquitoes and dysentery had made many of them sick. The number of troops made it necessary for most of them to be located outside of town. 

The men buried at Silverdale are from General Withers’ division hospital. His division consisted of men from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. The hospital was housed in 100 tents. It remained at Tyner’s station and in control of Withers’ division until after it was moved to Cleveland, Tennessee in December due to the weather becoming too cold for the men to remain in tents.

 If you like history, you will find this off the beaten path cemetery a fascinating place.  I would like to go back again to sit down and listen for the voices of the men lying beneath my feet.  Maybe they have something to say if only someone would listen.