Pinkie Patti and the Piano Man

Mom piano hands“Do you want to try playing Ms Patti?” Eric the Piano Man questions, gentle yet intent.

“I don’t think I can. I don’t know how,” Mom replies.

She adores singing, knows the words to hundreds of songs, still remembers them mostly. But she never learned to read music or play an instrument.

Now she’s 85 and in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Her language skills are beginning to evaporate – she rarely completes a sentence anymore. It seems unlikely she should be able to play the piano at this stage, even as she’s coming ’round the mountain.

Eric is undeterred.

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New Roasted Honey Lemon Almonds

Go nuts. Repeat.I first posted this recipe here and then tweaked and revised it to make the almonds crunchier (which I prefer). If you like your almonds chewier, use the original version.

Ingredients
About 1 pound raw almonds
About one heaping tablespoon of creamed honey (or to taste)
Juice of one half of a small lemon (or to taste)
Ground “gourmet” salt to taste, or “fleur de sel” (or regular salt, or no salt at all)

Instructions
Bake the almonds in a single single layer in a baking dish at 275°F until a yummy roasted almond smell fills your kitchen (about 40 minutes).

Remove almonds from oven and put in a large mixing bowl; allow to cool slightly.

Add one heaping tablespoon of creamed honey; toss with the almonds as it melts.

Let the almonds sit until they are cool and all stuck together (two – 24 hours).

Add the juice of one half lemon; toss again until the almonds are all unstuck.

Add your favorite freshly ground gourmet salt to taste (mine is pink Himalayan rock salt – to die for!) before serving.

Store in an airtight container, preferably glass.

Serving ideas

IMG_53891) For breakfast with a fresh fruit salad of diced cantaloupe, pink grapefruit and seedless green grapes. Accompany with Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice tea – the best herbal tea in the world bar none.

2) Chopped on vanilla ice cream, Or yogurt, or any kind of fruit salad.

3) With quarter sections of your favorite kind of Apple.

4) On their own!

Perhaps another day: dark chocolate covered and salted. Stay tuned…

I See You and Me. And Love.

This is a second short video for the What I See project.

The first one, “What We See,” was made in collaboration with 21 friends from around the world.

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Men Speak a Language All Their Own

Twin Boys talkingThey say women and men speak different languages.

That may be true.

They say women talk more than men.

That’s definitely not.

Another thing for sure: men speak a language all their own. (Maybe women do too.)

The fact that male mumbo jumbo starts at a very, very early age is clearly demonstrated by this 86-million-views-so-far YouTube video of twin boys captured by their Mom having a conversation in the kitchen (enjoy LOL): Continue reading

25 Useful Things to Remember When You Screw Up

Pink golf ballI played in my first-ever golf tournament last week. My preferred (quelle surprise!) ball is pictured at left 😉

In golf, as in most sports, it’s important to follow the rules  when you compete. (Mostly.)

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it),  following the rules is not my strong suit (not in games, not in sports, and especially not in life generally).

That’s probably why I ended up breaking the rules and being disqualified In my maiden tourney. (So far I haven’t been disqualified from life, but who knows what lies ahead…)

Interestingly, I subsequently learned I needn’t have been disqualified from the tournament, having followed the proper corrective procedure after the initial infraction.

This rule-breaking experience reminded me of some random life lessons, which I thought worth sharing: Continue reading

8 Good Reasons to Go Crazy

Gone Crazy back soonAs you can see (if you’ve been following me), I’ve “gone crackers” (again!), and done something slightly crazy: renamed this blog for the umpteenth time. (If you’re new here, welcome.)

The latest name, CrackerJacks, doesn’t have anything to do with anything (as my good friend Elaine is fond of saying when conversations take detours), other than it makes me think of popcorn and excellence, both of which I adore.

It may have been crazy to rename the blog, but it was even crazier to fire it up in the first place, given all the other stuff I already do, so it made perfect sense (or at least it did to me) to add another dollop of nuts on top of the existing chocolate sundae of craziness for good measure.

That got me thinking. (Can you see the smoke from where you are?)

“Perhaps being crazy is actually a good thing!” (Said I to myself, myself having been a square peg in a round hole pretty much from the get go, and BTW isn’t it interesting how we seek to validate our own beliefs about reality? Grist for yet another mill…)

Once the words had been silently spoken, I was compelled to find evidence that would transform the possibility into reality. The Internet, naturally, obliged. Continue reading