Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Someone asked me recently what my passions are.  I could not readily answer, much like when I could not answer what kind of person I am.  I feel that those two questions are very deep and complicated to me, mainly because they require introspection, and because I have to think about them.  I wonder if most people could come up with a quick "short" answer with no problem.

When I was younger  I read a lot.  I love to read.  I still have some of my early Dr. Seuss books which I wrote my name in when I was learning to write my name, along with my favorite "Little Bear" book.  Reading is my earliest passion seeing how I have been doing it since before I was five years old.  My Mother taught me how to read.  It may be one of the few acts of kindness that she ever bestowed upon me which meant the most in so many ways!

Cooking seems to be my second favorite passion.  Cooking I have been doing since I was about 8 years old, after we moved to West Pittsfield.  I would come home from school and tidy up the house, do my homework and cook dinner for when my Mom and step-dad Joe came home from work.  My mother was never a cook.  She specialized in French Toast and Meatloaf, that is about it.  My step-father Joe was the cook in our house! 

Joe was Italian.  I am sure that he learned to cook from his mother.  I never got to meet his mother as she died before we moved to West Pittsfield.  Joe was a great cook.  When he was laid off you could find him in the kitchen making food, in the stores buying food for his feasts!  He would cook for an army!  Sauces, soups, pasta!  He was amazing and much missed.  I owe him alot, for I would not be the person I am today without his influence, not just in the kitchen, but in life in general!  He taught me to be an individual, march to my own drum, dare to be myself - which I have always tried to do!  RIP <3 !  I especially miss him when I bake Italian Cookies because he was my chief cookie froster, never complaining as he frosted the 10 + dozen of cookies which is what one batch of the recipe makes, which are never enough!  His sister Jospehine gave me the recipe my step dad said that I baked them better than her!  Love them both! 

My passion for cooking, which I am venturing and learning new styles besides just accommodating picky children, will continue as the children move out and I learn new skills from others and get braver!  Love reading cookbooks also, which is tied into the cooking thing.  Cooking is only surpassed by baking, which, is not cooking, it is in a class all by itself.  That passion comes from my Dad's Mom - my grandmother Gallant.

My Grandmother was a teacher at Lanesborough School.  She also baked for her family and every event in Lanesborough!  Chocolate Chip Cookies to Cream Puffs to Homemade Cakes, Pies, jellies and jams, just to name a few.  I remember helping her make many delicious morsels while I was visiting her home waiting for the off chance that my Dad would arrive and make me the happiest little girl on the planet.  I spent a lot of time there waiting.  My Dad loved Cream Puffs.  I knew when he might be around by the fact that my Gram would bake them.  To this day I make the custard filling just because it is soooo yummy! 

I remember one weekend morning while my cousins, Tamra and Sarah and Christopher were there visiting from afar.  My Gram made us tiny round donuts, before Dunkin Donuts had munchkins we had these.  My Gram cooked them in the hot oil and then we children rolled them in powdered sugar and cinnamon.  Delicious!  Before my Gramma died she made a cookbook for all of us in the family, her legacy, like we could ever forget Gram!

 Some of my most cherished items are recipes from when I started baking my Christmas Cookie Platters in her very own writing!  I miss my Gram!  Some mean "friends" broke into my apartment in Williamstown in 2008 and among the things that they did, besides steal things was tear up my Gram's cookbook that she made.  I am really angry and pissed about that, but what comes around goes around and their lives are not as up and privileged as they used to be - thank you Karma!

I also have a passion for collecting things. This one is a long time passion also which stems from my step father.  He, when we met him had a store called La Casa Bella, it was an import store around the corner from the apartment my Mother, Father, brother and myself lived in before the end of the world as I like to think of it.  It was a great store!  Wall to wall stuff.  After we moved into his house one of the things he liked to do was go to Flea Markets and antique stores.  I have a pretty good eye and used to find the most interesting things. Mostly I would give them away to my Dad in the early days. Something I regret a little now, as he is not a keeper of important things the way that I am.  Some of those items would be worth some money right now and he can't even recall every owning them!  Oh well!   Total bummer!

Besides books, I collected Unicorns, Carousel Horses, music boxes, stuffed animals, pretty things, dishes, art and religious and nature things.  I think I have more "memory rocks" rocks picked up during family outings with my boys, than any one person.  The memories have faded but I am still carrying rocks around! 

Decorating has always been a hobby of mine.  I think that is just to display my stuff and make area's work comfortably and effectively.  It is more of a chore lately than a skill which my father thinks I possess. 

I fancy travel and architecture also.  Although I have not pursued either of these avenues lately.  Back in the late 90's I was working for a marketing company and traveling around the great North East attending various major cities and Boat Shows, Wine Shows, Home Shows, RV shows, festivals and fairs!  Providence RI has amazing architecture and I miss walking around there checking out the old architecture and watching the revitalization of the city!  I really miss that job and the traveling and people whom I got to meet and talk to! 

Work was also a passion.  I had finally found my niche in what I wanted to do when my life suddenly came to a shocking stand still and a new avenue opened.  Of course I am speaking of the two auto accidents within 4 months of each other and the new journey of being a patient and surgery and disability.  The biggest challenge in my life has been learning to adjust to never questioning and just doing to now doing and regretting doing.  Boy is that confusing to read and to do.

  Let me explain.  I have never had a limitation in my life.  I could and did do whatever I physically need to do and keep going.  Since 1999 I have been unable to do what ever I want due to limitations.  A person who had no limitations who suddenly cant walk from the car to the house, and up the stairs with out help, who could not get out of bed to wake up the children for school, who needed help lifting and carrying.  Left with limitations and pain and needing to rest and spend much time in bed and much time starting and stopping simple things.  Sucks!  Learning limits.  Learning to say screw the limits and live and deal with the pain repercussions later, and for days/weeks sometimes after.  I pick and choose what I do now.

The most overlooked passion in my life though is music.  I have no musical ability.  I have been loving music my whole life though!  Early memories of my Dad playing guitar in our house and my grandparent's house, I would lay in bed in the morning and listen to him practice.  Later on my oldest son Jeff, who has natural musical talent, would practice his bass down in my mother's apartment below my room and I would listen and love hearing him jam!  Listening to these two jam when they did not know I was even doing so were some of the best, most peaceful and enjoyable times of my life, which to this day I would give my right arm to experience again, but those days are past luckily I still have those memories!

My Dad talks of bringing us to the Music Inn when we were younger, and music always played everywhere, in the car, at friends houses, Boy's Club Dances, Roller Skating, Concerts!  Oh the concerts I have been to, the bands I have seen and the journeys I have taken!  Music is important to my boys also.  While Jeff, my oldest son and I only went to one concert together, Patrick and Thomas and I used to go to hear big bands play together all of the time, in the good old days before my life was ruined financially and all of life stopped. More details on concert tales in the future, I am sure!

Recently I obtained a stereo system complete with a turntable and duel cassette player.  While I have 0 albums, cuz mine got stolen in a move long ago, I have a multitude of cassettes who various people, including myself made between say the 80's through mid 90's, which I have not been able to listen to in a zillion years! I am loving life right now musically with my Buddy Guy and John Mayall mixes, to the tapes Tony D made me of mixed classics - including but not limited to "the lime and the coconut" song, a family favorite!  The tapes Jimmy D made me which I thought I would never hear again and many unlabeled ones which I thank technology and the Internet and google song lyrics!  Life is good when you have some good old music to listen to!  Everything is better with music!

I can not believe I almost forgot music as one of the first and foremost passions of  mine.  Nature is another one.  Animals, flowers, sunshine and rainbows!  I love the beauty of a snowy day, the gloominess of a rainy day, the sun on my face, the wind in my hair and my feet in the water on a hot summer day!  So many passions!  It is like values, until I thought about them, I didn't realize how many or how strong they are in me.

This blog is an exploration and journey.  I am definitely finding that to be true!  I am sure I have over looked or have not yet discovered more passions which I have not even touched upon here.  I will keep you posted.   I apologize to those of you who are reading this regarding how irregular my posts are.  Can I just clarify and state that time is a funny thing, and funnier in my world. Sometimes I just don't have too much of it to devote to things that are important to me.

 Not enough hours in the day, weeks, months and years at times.  Being busy with my family daily, my Dad and my son Thomas, usually a drop in visitor or two here and there, walking my daily route and making the rounds on North Street to say Hello here and there weather permitting now days that is!  Keeps a person busy.  Along with the fact that thinking about what to write and share and processing is time consuming also.  I am enjoying the process and hope that you are enjoying the journey!

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