Monday, December 28, 2009

Facing Your Fears

On New Year's Eve I have to take the written drivers test to renew my driver's license. What a way to start the New Year. I get to stand in a line at the California DMV, which is a nightmare in itself. Comedians have made big careers of making fun of the DMV employees alone. Then I will have to get a new picture taken. Great, now I will really look my age. Eek!
Of course, I will have to lie (again) about my weight. Maybe it won't be that bad. Who am I kidding? I will probably have my applique or knitting with me on that day while I wait.
But really, I am getting excited about the New Year. I have some new things planned and will be traveling and teaching all over - even on a cruise to Hawaii.

Not that this year was bad or anything. On the contrary, it was wonderful and full of new adventures. I traveled a lot and met great people that taught me so much. I am proud that I pushed myself not to be afraid. There is nothing scary on the other side of your fear - really, I mean it.

So for this new year I hope and pray for you. I want the best in the new year for those people around me that are worried about the future, the economy and are facing new challenges. I pray for the best for you, the few of you who actually read this blog. We have a connection and it means a lot to me.

I have the same new years resolution I have had for a while now: to not be afraid, to be as creative as I can and when people are mean don't take it serious since (hopefully) the problem is them.

You and I have nothing to lose. Well, maybe our pride, but we can always get more of that.
So we will see what the new year has for all of us. If I can give advice, which I probably shouldn't, I would say don't try and lose weight in the new year but do something that really matters just for you. And guess what? You might just lose the weight because you fell better about yourself.

Please let me know how you do.

OK , I guess I do need a new driver's license. This picture is so 80's with the big hair and all.
Happy and Blessed New Year from the Bula Family.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The tree is up and baking goodies is on my mind. I love to make handmade things and goodies for the holidays. When I was growing up baking treats was always a Christmas tradition. My father was an elementary school principal and his teachers and students, actually, usually the mothers of the students, would give him some of the best treats for Christmas. Lucky for us, we also typically got the recipes, too.

But it really all started with Grandpa and Grandma Hopkins, as far as I can remember. Grandpa Hopkins owned Hopkins and Son grocery store in Decatur, Illinois. He served as a cook in WWII on the ship Dakota and when he came home from the war became a pastor. His best job was being Grandpa. He spoiled us when we spent the night. Breakfast was always his homemade doughnuts. He made us french fries and hamburgers for lunch. It was heaven to be at his house. Grandma taught me how to crochet and they where always doing crafts.
So when Grandpa and Grandma Hopkins came for the holidays they would bring treats. One of their best was their date bars, which I am making tomorrow.

But today was all about the stollen. This is a German bread made at the holidays. I was first turned on to the recipe by, no, not Julia, but my other favorite diva, Martha. This was way back when I was just married about 6 -7 years. She demonstrated it on her show and I had to make it. This would truly impress my inlaws who had never really taken me into the fold. Don't be sad; they didn't even take they own son into the fold, either. Well, anyway, I made the stollen and to my surprise the Bula family loved it. What?!? They hate everything I do. Well, to find out years later, Joe's dad was Polish even thought he told me early in our marriage that they were Italian and, of course, I believed them. Why would he lie? Joe said he didn't know what his ethnicity was. so, as always, I believed.
Well, years later, like 2008, while doing a little genealogy, I found out that Joe is German and Polish and stollen is a traditional holiday bread. Aaarrrgh! All after becoming the best Italian cook around! So, today I made the famous stollen. Joe's parents are no longer with us but I make it in honor of finally finding out what the heritage of my only child and the man I love is.
By the way, the date bars I thought Grandpa Hopkins made that we all loved were Grandma's doing all along.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Julia Child On a Rainy Day

Today is a rainy, cold and miserable day. It snowed 4 inches last Sunday night and today, Friday, the snow finally melted with the new rain that should last 5 more days. Get ready east coast, more snow is coming. It's not supposed to snow here in California, at least not at our elevation. It's like every 7 years we get a freak snow fall that melts by morning. But this one lasted for a week. Its really cool for the first 2 days but then you realize your home is not very insulated, the pool pump is running constantly to fight off the freezing temps, the gas bill is going to be off the charts which will send Joe over the edge and I have nothing warm to wear. It starting to get depressing. I think I might have seasonal depression disorder which we can add to the long list of my other disorders. I don't know how most of you make it through the cold winter without killing someone.

Now that I have depressed you, all is not lost.

I deiced to watch a movie and do a little cross stitch pattern that I bought at the Houston show, hoping there is a good movie out there. I love my On Demand and it was my lucky day. I have been dieing to see Julie & Julia. Getting my husband to the movies is an art form in itself, especially if it's a chick flick.

So I got a diet coke, caffeine free of course, that is for my other disorder and sat down to watch a good movie and stitch. I started right away feeling guilty as the credits started to run.
What for? I can take a day off and just doing something mindless once in awhile. One of the problems with being self employed and doing what you love, is you sometimes forget to take days off. Another disorder, if you are keeping track.

Well, the movie was great. I was in heaven. This is just what the doctor ordered. A good dose of Julia Child and Meryl Streep is always good for the soul and perfect for any rainy or snowy day. Julia's passion for food is like my passion for color.

This movie brought back a lot of good memories of living in San Francisco for many years as a flight attendant. I had many roommates over the years (that is another story) but for a period of time I was roommate-less. My best friend became all the cooking shows on PBS and Julia Child's was at the top of the list. I never missed an episode and loved all the reruns. So this movie brought back a lot of good memories. As the movie was rolling I ran and got my first Julia Child cookbook and laid it next to me on the sofa. I thumbed through it and smiled at all the grease stained pages and remembered making that for Joe many years ago. Just like in the movie, I too learned to cook with Julia Child, and I am so grateful and so is my family.

They recreated her kitchen right down to the last little spoon. The set designer for the movie had to recreate Julia's kitchen exactly and found most of the antiques on Craigslist so that every thing was authentic. Julia's husband, Paul, picked the color of the cabinets, which I love. Kind of a robin's egg blue green. I don't think she cooked robin's eggs but if she did it would have been fitting.

Cooking, and cooking good, is just another form of creativity and having the right color to be creative in, is a must. It's the doing of the dishes after the meal that gets in the way.
So, the rainy day off turned out really good. I had a little trouble seeing my tiny cross stitch. That's a whole other malady I am dealing with. But thank God you don't really need great eyesight for cooking or eating. By the way, we are having leftovers for dinner. BON APPÉTIT!