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My New Life – Two Years Later

 

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July 10, 2018 at 7:15 p.m.; I held my husband in my arms as he took his last breath.

It was the biggest heartache of my life, and these past two years have been the hardest years of my life.

Nothing prepared me for that last moment.
Nothing prepared me for the days leading up to his death.

Time does not heal the heartache.
Time does not diminish how much I miss him.

I’m still a major work in progress, navigating and working my way through this new life I never wanted.

I live each day wondering how I will get through another day without the love of my life—a loving husband, bonus dad, Baba (grandfather), friend, and uncle that nothing I can write will do justice to the wonderful man he was to us all.

He’s the first thing on my mind when I wake up, and my last thought before I sleep.

Every day I wake up wondering, how will I push through today; and then I remember my promise to him—to honour his legacy of hope, optimism, love, laugh and live—the best description of David I could offer.

A kinder more courageous person I have never met. A true warrior, and the way he handled the last fourteen months of his life only emphasized what a beautiful human being he was from the time he was born until the day he died.

I keep memories of our life together alive, because memories are all I have left.

I am so grateful to have been loved and cherished by this beautiful soul and so privileged and honoured to have been able to love and cherish him.

 

David, my love, the number of years without you could never be greater than the number of ways I love you, the way we all love you.

Eternally in loving memory.

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Discover New-To-You Authors

 

 

Choose your own escapism with a variety of well-crafted stories in contemporary or historical or paranormal settings. With dynamic characters who will make you laugh, keep you in suspense, or ride along to help solve a mystery, or you could choose to sink your reading pleasure into a solid women’s fiction novel.

Today’s authors offer a variety of genres and sub-genres sure to please readers with an appetite to suspend reality for a few hours, and escape into the creative world talented writers have devised for your reading pleasure.

 

A Cornucopia of Great Reads

 

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THE GIFT by Deb Stover
Romance and mystery with a paranormal twist

 

sue-phillips

YOU OUGHTA KNOW by Sue Phillips
Compelling Women’s Fiction

 

paul-carhart

PLANETFALL by Paul M. Carhart
Sci-Fi Adventure

 

justine-davis

LONE STAR HOMECOMING by Justine Davis
Contemporary Romance

 

teresa-daly-ramin

SOUL KEEPER by Cathryn Marr
Sexy Paranormal with a twist of humor

 

susan-ricciRAINBOWS AND RESCUES by USA Today Best Selling Author, Susan Jean Ricci
Contemporary Romantic Comedy

 

linda-wisdomHOTEL HEX by Linda Wisdom
Clue meets Bewitched and Nancy Drew Paranormal

 

connie-vinesHERE TODAY, ZOMBIE TOMORROW by Connie Vines
A quirky, sassy and fun paranormal romance

 

deborah-macgillvrayDeborah Macgillivray brings you an array of historical and contemporary romances.

 

kellyFATED TRILOGY by Kelly Moran
Paranormal Romance

Get Mugged

It is a fact that chocolate makes everything better; no matter what is happening in your world or the whole universe, chocolate will comfort you, never disagree with you, never cause you stress, and best of all it’s healthy.

 

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Health benefits of cocoa bean:

  • Powerful source of antioxidants.
  • May reduce heart disease risk.
  • May improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.
  • Raises HDL and protects LDL from oxidation.
  • May protect your skin from the sun.
  • Could improve brain function.

I know what you’re thinking—“Selena is a self-professed chocolate guru/chocoholic, of course she’d say chocolate is an important part of a balance diet.”

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There is that, but Mayo Clinic does agree with me. Click here to read how chocolate can be part of a nutritional and healthy eating plan.

CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE

 

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Go get mugged with this easy, quick (takes less than 10 minutes to make) recipe for those times when you need chocolate to satisfy a craving.

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 TBSP powered peanut butter (or creamy peanut butter)
1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
2 TBSP warm milk (or warm water)
1 egg white
1 tsp. olive oil (or canola oil)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. maple syrup (or 1 tsp. agave nectar – or – 1 tsp golden syrup)
1/4 tsp. baking powder

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Spray a 10-12 oz mug with non-stick spray

2.  Add all the ingredients in a small bowl, and stir well together, until smooth.

3.  Pour the mixture into the mug.

4.  Microwave on high for 60 – 90 seconds (will depend on your microwave’s wattage) or until center of the cake is done.

5. Serve warm.

Top it with your favourite yogurt and fruit, (I topped mine with vanilla Greek yogurt and berries) or whipping cream, or chocolate chips—get creative.

Enjoy in good health!

 

Long Live Chocolate

 

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Cadbury eggs move over—it’s ZEPPOLE time

It’s that time of the year again, where everyone is hunting down Cadbury Easter Eggs, chocolate bunnies, or marshmallow eggs, so why not raise your sweet tooth bar a little higher and bake up a batch of these heavenly balls of dough—ZEPPOLE.

 

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Zeppoles are deep-fried dough balls, topped with powdered sugar.

However, as is with most things of my people, every household has their own recipe. Some recipes including filling the dough with pastry cream, custard or butter and honey.

I am sharing my family’s recipe for Zeppole.

Get your Italian on and fry up a batch.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
2 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
zest of a small lemon
1 stick butter (or 1/2 cup)
1 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs
Olive oil (for frying, and use the light olive oil, not the extra-virgin kind)
powered sugar (in Canada we call this icing sugar, in USA it is called confectioner sugar)

Directions:

In a bowl mix together: 1/2 cup of sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and lemon zest. Set aside.

Turn your stove on to medium heat, and using a saucepan, combine the following in the saucepan: butter, 3 TBSP sugar and the water.

Stirring constantly, bring this to a boil.

Once it has boiled, remove from the stove and stir in the flour.

Return the saucepan to the stove, and keep stirring until the mixture forms a ball. Continue stirring for 5 minutes.

Take mixture from saucepan and add to the sugar/cinnamon/vanilla/lemon bowl you had set aside (or if you prefer to use a food processor you can put it in there).

Using a hand mixer (or food processor), add your eggs one at a time, so that each egg is mixed in well with the dough.

Continue beating until mixture is smooth.

At this point you are going to fry the dough, but if you want to do it later, you can. Simply cover the bowl with saran wrap and refrigerate and fry them later.

TO FRY THEM:

Add enough oil into a large frying pan (about 2 inches). Heat oil over medium heat.

Fry them in batches so they are not crowding each other.

When oil is hot, using a melon baller, or small ice cream scooper or a tablespoon and drop the dough into the hot oil. Turn the zeppole a few times so that all sides get a nice golden color.

Once they are all puffed up and golden on all sides (takes about 5 minutes) place each one on paper towels.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and if you like, you can sprinkle with cinnamon as well.

Best eaten right after they are made.

Let me know if you have any questions about this recipe if you give it a try.

Feel free to post your favorite traditional recipe as well.

Zepoli

Growing Up Italian

Growing Up Italian

 

  • The word calm is not in the Italian dictionary.

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  • Thanksgiving dinner included; antipasto platter, lasagna, meatballs. Turkey was a side.
  • I don’t want to be that girl, but roasted peppers, Nutella, pesto, deep fried zucchini was a staple for us way before it was trendy.
  • You learned how to make pasta before entering Kindergarten, and you didn’t practice with play dough.
  • When your friends came to your place to play, they were asked no fewer than five times if they were hungry.

 

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  •  We had gardens—not flower gardens. Huge gardens with rows and rows of tomatoes, along with peppers, basil, squash and zucchini.
  • We knew that the word “Latte” is an Italian’s way of saying, “You paid way too much for that coffee.”
  • It is drilled into your mind at a very young age how to make pizza, but if you have absolutely no choice then you know how to order pizza properly, asking for 75% less cheese than your non-Italian friends would order.

 

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  • You have multiple family members named Maria, Angela, Joe, Tony and at least two Uncle Mario’s.
  • You know how to properly pronounce “gnocchi,” “bruschetta,” and “tagliatelle,” which means you’re the spokesperson when out to dinner with your non-Italian friends and family.
  • Salad was always eaten AFTER the main course. (I still do this.)

 

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  • Chamomile tea cures everything.
  • Every Sunday afternoon lunch time with extended family started at 1:00 and ended at 6:00, and there was enough food for everyone to have a second helping and take food home for their week’s lunches.
  • Your Saints day is even more celebrated than your birthday. (Except for me, I don’t have a Saint’s day, but then again I was born in Canada, and that seems to be a loophole according to my siblings, which brings me to the next point).
  • If you were the first generation Canadian, your siblings convinced you that you were adopted.
  • Shocked when you heard someone’s last name did not end in a vowel.
  • Surprised to discover that wine was sold in stores. Wasn’t everyone’s basement a winery?
  • NO VOLUME CONTROL WHEN THE FAMILY GETS TOGETHER.
  • You know a lot of people who came from the same village as your parents or grandparents, they’re not blood related, but call them Aunt, Uncle anyway.

 

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  • Thought everyone got pinched on the cheeks and had money stuffed in their pockets by their relatives.
  • You couldn’t date a boy without getting approval from your mother, father, brothers, sister, a nanna and nonno if they are in the picture, and a few uncles and aunts, by that time, you didn’t have to worry about dating. Ever again.
  • You have at least one irrational fear or phobia that can be attributed to your mother, which of course you pass on to your own children when the time is right.
  • You know that it doesn’t matter what happens; loss of job, divorce, headache, flu, clumsiness….it’s all because you did not eat properly that day and of course, you didn’t listen to your parents.
  • No matter what city you are in, you need to go and visit their Little Italy.
  •  You did the dishes for Nonna or a Zia (Aunt) and got $50.00.

 

All this and more, but you love every minute of it, and look forward to sharing these traditions with the next generation. 

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Widowhood–Navigating the emotional minefield on Valentine’s Day

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After my beloved husband died in 2018, I knew that the days ahead, navigating through this new life I never wanted, would be challenging.

Inevitably I encountered emotional landmines, especially during the holidays, riding a roller coaster of triggered anxiety and depression. Even something simple as grocery shopping and spotting a carton of orange sherbet—his favourite dessert—swallowed me whole with a fresh wave of grief.

Now that the bright lights of Christmas and New Year’s are behind us, a new landmine blasts at every turn complete with hearts, flowers, chocolates and advertisements for dinner for two–and when you’re suffering heartache as a widow or widower on Valentine’s Day, they seem to pop up everywhere.

 

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My husband and I didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day with a lot of fanfare, as he was a “here’s-a-gift-for-no-reason” type of guy, however, we did mark the day in our own way.

He’d kick off the morning by serving me tea and toast, using peanut butter to draw a heart on the toast. I  would buy him a card—the kind we used to give as kids at school–of course, there wasn’t anything childlike in the note I’d writtem inside the card. wink

 

cardHe’d also give me a card—the traditional “for all occasions card.”

Twenty-years ago, my husband gave me a card for my birthday–the card looked oddly familiar, and then when I opened the card I knew why it looked familiar. He had given me that card on our anniversary with a sticky note inside with his endearment—here it was again for my birthday, with a different note inside.

It was a running joke that I treasured all these years, as he said it saved him from never forgetting a card for any occasion, he’d just recycle the card and just change the sticky note to suit the occasion.

ROSESInstead of buying me a bouquet of roses or flowers for Valentine’s Day, he’d plant roses and beautiful flowers—perennial wild flowers and annuals in the garden.

I have a black thumb, so my contribution was providing cold lemonade and exchange witty innuendos about gardening with him. I loved sitting in the garden and watching him (great view for me 🙂 ) work his magic with the flowers and vegetable garden he lovingly nurtured.

As I said earlier, he loved giving gifts for no reason, and about six months after he died, I finally went through a few of his things in his man cave area, and discovered a binder filled with vintage Beatles cards.

beatlesI figured out that he had been collecting them to surprise me with them at some point, but with chemotherapy and in his weakened state, he hadn’t spend much downtime in his man cave, and I am guessing he forgot about that binder with all that was going on.

It was a bittersweet moment, and I remember having to spend a day in bed after finding the cards—the heart ache was so intense. I then shook myself out of my despair and with tears in my eyes, felt joy for his thoughtfulness. I forced myself to go to MICHAEL’s and purchased a frame. Some of the cards hang in my office where I can enjoy them.

 

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This Valentine’s Day I will make myself toast and use peanut butter to draw a heart on it; I will hold the for-every-occasion-card close to my heart; I will look out into the garden and take in the tall oak tree, and remember the day twenty-eight-years ago when we planted the acorn together on the first day we moved into our home.

I will open the treasure trove of memories my husband left me from the beautiful life he lovingly gifted me every single day of our marriage, remember his deep love, his smile, his wit, his great sense of humour, and how passionate he was about our family, and although it will be another heart-wrenching reminder of all that I’ve lost, I will force myself to smile through the tears and continue to be grateful for the everlasting love we share.

As I do every night, I will close my eyes, remember his soft kisses and say, “I’ll see you on the other side of the stars, my love.”

Heart, Moon, Night Sky, Love, Thoughts, Happy, Luck

We Relate. We Understand.
We Listen. We Care.

I asked my friends; sisters and brothers in shared grief how they will mark Valentine’s day without the love of their lives and they generously agreed to submit their thoughts.

We all hope that by sharing we will help others who are painstakingly navigating a new life without their life partners to see they are not alone in their grief, and to also help family members understand what their loved one may be feeling during this time.

 

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This year I will be in Vegas celebrating my birthday just a little late. But I’ve always liked Valentine’s Day. Mike and I were both romantic and enjoyed holidays, so when he was alive we always went out for a nice dinner, and he got me roses and chocolate. The way I will celebrate this year is to post a picture on Facebook, saluting the man who will always be my Valentine. Blythe Pulsipher Smith 

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It will just be another day for me. Pen Women meeting and book club. We have one other widow in book club so she might surprise us with some Valentine cookies but I’m not betting on it, nor do I plan to do anything myself. In the evening we have a blue grass gig at our local Black Rose acoustic group. Nothing special. I would like to be pleasantly surprised. Diane Hoover

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Flowers would appear, seemingly out of nowhere, for me on Valentines Day when my husband was alive. Even when we were living together in a small RV after Hurricane Katrina, for four years flowers would appear in the morning and I have no idea where he hid them because there’s no place to hide anything in a tiny RV housing three dogs and two people. He didn’t just buy me flowers because it was Valentine’s Day. He bought them for me because I like flowers. A lot. On Valentine’s Day now, I buy myself flowers. In memory for my love. Therra Cat Jaramillo

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Going to lunch with my sister and Dad and dad’s friends from the Senior Center ! Then off for a meeting with my financial man !! Just another day in the life of a widow! Susie Park Welch

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I took the day off work. Decided I’d rather work around the house than think about it (Lori passed away on Feb 18, 2014 so our last Valentine’s Day was one where she was in a coma in the hospital and I was sitting bedside).  Paul M. Carhart

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We did not celebrate and I’m okay with that. Walt was weird about holidays. Birthday sure, tho he did not like being reminded of his own LOL. But he hated the commercialization of Christmas and Valentine’s and rebelled against the social pressure. He was more about doing random things for absolutely no reason but that he loved me. So, Valentine’s is just another day and afterward candy is on sale. 😊 Mica Stone

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I’ve escaped to California to visit my brother and sis in law. We’re going to a winery for a tasting and then he’s cooking us a special dinner. It’s peaceful here and I didn’t want to be alone in the house Joe and I created together. Susan Ricci 

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Who says you can’t meet the love of your life in a bar. It was a very special day for us. We met on Valentines day- 1979. I was going out with a buddy to a popular bar where we were meeting friends from work. I armed myself with three dozen roses and headed out. Over the next couple of hours, I gave out all my roses and spent all my money. I ended up at the bar with my buddy at the end of the night.

(That sounds kind of sad when I say it out loud) 🙂 I did not however feel lonely or disappointed. It had been a fun evening. While I was sitting there at the bar, a gorgeous woman sat down next to me. She bought Me a beer. Did I mention that I had spent all my money? 🙂 We talked until the bar closed and parted ways, exchanging phone numbers. I knew at that point that something was different. Something was special. We began dating the next weekend and moved forward from there for the next 37 years.

Tough day. Usually a toast. I don’t need much to remember it by. It is seared in my memory as one of the best days of my life and changed forever. As with most of the memories, I feel that warmer fondness these days and at those times and try to focus on. that as I blow a delicate kiss to her place in the Universe and feel her spirit with me.
Jeff Ashmun

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It’s going to be a day like any other day of the week. I have had a lot of single friends through the years and figure if they go through this couple’s celebration every year, then I can, too. Its all the hype around it that drives me a little crazy. If I find myself getting upset I quickly push myself through it. Not much different than the Xmas décor starting in October. After losing Don on Christmas Eve, I couldn’t deal with the reminders of the season. Last year wasn’t as bad so I know I’m moving forward. Sue Phillips

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Going to a play at the community theater, “Murder on the Orient Express.” I got the very last ticket for the performance. Someone had to buy that ticket, and that person was me. Susan Matley

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I like yellow roses, his preference was red. So if he purchased a dozen roses for me they would be 11 yellow and 1 red. And vice versa if I bought them for him. I think tomorrow I’ll just go buy one of each color. Jan Hayne

 

 

 

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