Help! My Melanin is Missing!

 

Ok, so I’ve never had much melanin, but.. 

 Its time to stand up and say something, for all of us Melanin lacking people!! I’m tired of being quiet!

To all of You who were blessed with a thing called Melanin, please read this….

From Dictionary.com

melanin  [( mel -uh-nin)]

A dark brown coloring found in the body, especially in the skin and hair. Produced by special skin cells that are sensitive to sunlight, melanin protects the body by absorbing ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Note : The amount of melanin present in the skin determines the color of a person’s complexion: people with a large amount have dark skin, whereas those with very little have fair skin. Melanin is also responsible for tanning.

So basically when I was created, someone forgot to dump in a generous helping of melanin to my genetic makeup. My mother, God love the melanin hogging woman, can be outside for 5 minutes and her skin glows with her melanin doused genes. My father however, passed on every single bit of his melanin lacking genes to my sister and I.  I don’t fault him, he didn’t have it to begin with. I blame mom for keeping so much for herself.   (Don’t worry mom, I’ve since forgiven you!)

 And before I begin the “awareness” part of this post, let me preface it by saying I’m not a terribly vain person. Yes I do bathe, and I do like to look nice, but thankfully, I don’t obsess over it, I am who I am, and I’m good with me.  

Having said that, I must now venture on to the awareness part:

For some reason, people think its ok, when you’re pale, to make public statements about it. Its usually when in the company of more than one person, better yet, a group of people, when someone decides its ok to exclaim, “Dang, you’re pale, why don’t you tan more?” For some reason  people don’t consider the rudeness of this type of statement before they speak. My theory is when they go in the sun Wha-la, they no longer look like the walking dead,  so they ASS-U-ME I can do the same thing. Well guess what Einstein, I can’t.

 Let me explain. First I’m going to repeat something from above:

 Melanin is also responsible for tanning.

 Its simple science, Melanin, or lack thereof, is responsible for my paleness.

 When you make your ‘pale’ comments or ask things like, “Are you a recluse? Don’t you ever leave the house?” you are, possibly unknowingly, bringing back all of the teasing in grade school, all of the self conscious memories of youth like a speeding freight train, to the present. Just because you can go from pale, to a more tanned state with a little exposure to the sun, does not automatically mean all of us can.

Think for a minute about your most self conscious issue with your body. What is it? NOW imagine if I point out your most self conconsious issue in a group of people and go on and on about it. Get the idea? It is very hurtful. I am surprised almost daily, by the amount of people who don’t consider this.

 Usually we all have something about ourselves we wish we could change and even if we’ve moved on, and in our wisdom & age accepted ourselves the way we are, whatever that issue was, that “thing” can still have stabbing effects on your psyche if someone points it out in a rude tone. So please remember this: Just because I’m pale as the moon does not mean I can help it.

Let me give you an example. I once joined a tanning salon, I would burn after 10 minutes, so I would go 8  minutes at a time, increasing the minutes a little at a time, 3 times a week, FOR 3 MONTHS. Oh I could tell a difference, every extremely pale person can tell when their skin shows an ever so slight, almost imperceptible glow! But after 3 months, and who knows how many minutes of my life, I would still be asked the same rude, pale questions.

Heres one more thought, if melanin protects you from the harmful effects of UV rays and a person has only a smidge of melanin, it not only means it would take  10 times as long to tan, but in the meantime, said person is 100 times more likely to get skin cancer than melanin blessed people. I have to say, in the long run, I think I’ll be glad I didn’t give in too  many times to the pressure of others saying “why don’t you tan more?” Why expose myself to those dangers if, in the end, I’m the only one who could tell? I gave up fake baking to hopefully save my future self from suffering from skin cancer, call me silly!

So the next rude question is, why don’t you go spend your hard earned money on the tanning sprays? Let me tell you, I tried it once, before a trip to Florida where I was afraid people would really gawk. Once in the tube, I HATED to not be able to breathe. Yep, that’s right, You’re enclosed in a space age tube and you can’t breathe lest you inhale tanning chemicals. When the gusts of paint stop, you turn around, and still enclosed in an airtight tube, you can “breathe” for a few seconds before the next gust of paint starts, only, you still have these paint particles floating everywhere so you’re still inhaling them. Not my idea of a good time. Oh and the result of this paint torture? One of the sprayers was clogged! I kid you not. I had streaks down the back of my leg! Being the positive person I normally am, I am truely thankful it wasn’t the sprayer that covered the face! 

Still, STREAKS….

down

my leg. 

Yep. That looked really nice!

 I can definitely accept my situation & I see the humorous side. 

Once, after watching the movie “Dances with Wolves” with my melanin blessed husband, G1, I decided to give us both American Indian names. I dubbed myself, “Glows in the Dark” and we laughed hysterically for a while. He still lovingly calls me by the name at times. I also volunteer myself  as a guage for my friends to compare their tans to, because like I said earlier, I’m me, this is who I am. 

It’s only when people ask previous stated pale questions with a tone in their voice that conveys they think you actually have a choice in the matter that it can come across as insulting. I find myself wanting to proclaim,

 “I’m not an animal!!!” 

 So all I ask of you is to think before you speak when talking to us Melanin challenged people of this world.

We have feelings too.

 

A New Touch

I did a little redecorating yesterday.

The simple, easy kind of re-decorating. I changed out pictures on my wall.

Take the old down, put up different ones & now I have a refreshed look to my room.

I love it when a plan comes together.

While out photographing, I try to keep in mind a ‘trio’ of pictures. A set of 2 or 3 that would look good together on one wall.

In this particular trio my main photo was the St. Louis arch in the springtime, by the lake, with trees flowering everywhere. It was truely a pretty sight to behold.

I took my main photo, the one of the arch, then I took one of a few of the dogwoods by themselves, and one, from another perspective, of the lake.

Badda bing, there is my trio. It all seemed good in my head,

but I wasn’t sure one of my new favorite ‘trio’s would look good in my living room.

 I don’t know why I thought they may not look good in my living room, I think I worried for nothing.

 

 

 

Time Flies

Where did these precious little girls go?

 Sometimes I miss them so much.

 Sometimes I see glimpses of them, they are the same…..yet different.

Then I remember, they are right here and pride fills my heart at the young ladies they’ve become.

As I look at these two pictures, tears form in my eyes.

They are happy tears, proud tears.

My how time flies.

Barns and Clouds

Well, its just one of those days where I’m just too busy to know what to say.

Although I wouldn’t exactly call myself at a loss for words, even if I’m talking to myself I usually have SOMETHING to say.

Never mind that….

A recent storm front to move in. I love watching the clouds churn and creep in.

Believe it or not, this is right smack dab in the middle of the town I live in. Across the street is a major strip mall, and it is surrounded on all sides by commercial or residential. I’ve asked a few people around here if they know “that old barn” and they have no idea its even there. I think we just get in that mode of go-go-go, we forget to stop & look sometimes.

Have a great day and remember to slow down and look for the beauty in our world.

That Old Diner Took Me Back in Time

 On our way home from the farmers market, my husband suggested we stop at this small diner-type restaurant for breakfast. I had been curious about it for a long time so thought it was a great idea. Just from the outside I got the feeling of nostalgia, it was a small town diner from yester-year.

You see, the town I live in is the town I grew up in. I’m nearing the big 4-0 but when I was a child, this town was “out in the stix”. It was country. I lived in one of the ‘new subdivisions’ that started popping up here in the mid 70’s. Our main highway was a winding 2 lane country road. We had to drive ‘into town’ a whole 5 to 8 miles to get to the store, unless the “Hucks” gas station just down the road had what we needed.

 Yes, a subdivision surrounded by corn fields & country roads is pretty much where I grew up.

Only, as I was growing up, so was the area around me.

One by one the corn fields became subdivisions. The fields for grazing cattle became bigger highways or shopping malls or strip malls. More land was dozed to create schools to handle all of the people moving to the burbs. I guess since it happens so slowly, yet in retrospect, so quickly, you dont notice as much the little things that you miss about ‘small town’.

The abscence of traffic.

The abscense of stop lights & stop signs at every intersection.

The hustle & bustle replaces the slow & steady.

 Rooftops now fill my views where once you felt like you had elbow room.

Gone are the lines made by the rows of corn that now seem almost theraputic to the eyes.

Maybe its just the simplicity of it all that I miss so much. Maybe its the quiet.

 

This is what going into that diner this weekend reminded me of. It was so ‘retro’ in that small town, country way. License plates, old & new hung on the walls along with signs from the old diner days. The seats were the old formica type of booths, room for 4. It amazed me that places like this still existed in the middle of a thriving, overpopulated suburbia. The waitresses called people by their names and as some of the customers left, they said “Bye, see you next Saturday!” Yep. it was a cozy, familiar, time warp that made me long again for the country way of life.

 I’m a country girl at heart, surrounded by a suburbia that came in and took over like a rash. Oh there are positive sides, like the fact that before the economic downturn, more jobs were created closer to home. It used to be you’d have to drive into the city of St. Louis (about 30 miles) to get a decent job. Now there are more out here, in fact , I work only 8 miles & 21 stop lights away from home. (I’m not kidding about the stop lights, I’ve counted). 

The people here, even though there are literally tens of thousands more than when I was young, they are mostly good. Its still a freindly, clean, safe place to live.

There are still places within driving distance that have not been taken over by suburbia, but now, since acrage is more scarce its also much more expensive. Usually the only homes built with any acrage now are beyond my price range by far.

Even my old High School is no longer recognizable. It used to sit on an old army base. Where the old army barracks used to house the offices for the school, now have long been torn down and a huge new state of the art gymnasium now stands. The school used to be an interesting mix of farm kids and the first suburbia subdivision kids (like me) to inhabit the area. Now the kids are all suburbia kids with possibly a few farm kids but I doubt there are more than a handful of those.

A big new super highway is under construction that replaces the four lane highway that replaced the 2 lane highway. I shake my head everytime I pass the construction because it is most definately a monumental task. Earth movers, pavers, buildings being moved, the landscape has definately changed, its almost unrecognizable.

 Life is change, I get that. I accept that even.

I love my town, in fact, I’ve never lived anywhere else.

Sometimes though I can’t help but miss the way it used to be.

The Best Guacamole EVER

Ok, so when I spout off and say “The Best Guacamole EVER”, I guess you could say “Yeah, right!” or “I don’t think so!” or whatever you might say to that, but just so you know, this isn’t just a matter of MY opinion. This recipe has now been tried on several people. Some, including myself, former guacamole dis-likers. Yes, thats what I said, there have even been a few people, like me, who went from “Ew, guacamole!” to “Thats pretty darn good, and I don’t even LIKE guacamole”!!! With a few, like me, who Love this stuff!!!

 Now I’m not claiming that EVERYONE will like it, some people are just bound to never like certain things, I get that, but  I have only met one person, who dared try the “green slimy looking stuff” that said, “Meh, its ok.”

I have to give credit where credit is due. My husband, G1 taught me how to make this. Thanks Honey!

So here’s what you need:

2 ripe Avacados

1/3 medium yellow onion

1/2 tomato

1/4 Cup Pace Picante Salsa

Louisiana Hot Sauce

Garlic Salt

A few notes: Avacados are ripe when you can sqeeze them gently and feel them smoosh just a little. If they are real hard, they aren’t ready yet, if they smoosh too much, they may be too ripe.

Also, depending on your tolerance for hot & spicy should depend on whether you get Hot, Medium or Mild salsa. I can tell you I’m a hot & spicy wimp and I still use the Hot salsa, since there is not a huge amount added to this recipe, its really not all that hot but if you are afraid of “hot” then use a milder version of salsa.

Last: If you are not familiar with avacados, they are similar to bananas in the way that, after being peeled, they tend to “brown” quickly and taste does change. I highly suggest you make this recipe same day as you intend to eat it, for best outcome, immediately before serving. Remember: Fresher=better when it comes to this recipe.

Peel Avacados, de-pit (save one pit for later). Chop avacado with knife until it creates a chunky but slightly creamy mixture.

 

Chop onion & tomato into small, chunky pieces & add to avacado.

Add a few sprinkles of Garlic salt.

add 1/4 C salsa, a few squirts of the Louisanna Hot sauce & stir everything together.

Stir until a creamy yet chunky combo forms.

Keep one of the pits and put into mixture (obviously not to eat), this is said to keep it fresher a little longer, I still recommend serving right away, at the most, within a few hours.

The recipe size here will serve 2-3. If you are making this for more, you can easliy double it.

Serve with Tortilla chips or on crackers. Yum. I personally buy baked tortilla chips to cut down on the amount of calories. Avacados contain a lot of fat themselves, but by everything I’ve read, its the good fat. Its the type that helps build the ‘good’ choleterol. Everything in moderation, but this is one of your healthier choices and personally, my fav!

Italian Sausage Stromboli

Ok, here it is, the Stromboli recipe I promised.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Your shopping list:

Parchment or waxed paper

8 oz pizza dough or seamless dough sheet

1 lb italian sausage

1 Tablespoon Olive oil

1/2 green pepper

1/2 medium yellow onion

3 pieces of sundried tomato (Stores sell sundried tomatos in jars packed in oil)

1 large tomato

1 and 1/2 C Shredded italian cheese

2/3 C speghetti sauce

1 egg white, lightly beaten

First, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Chop onion & green pepper

Heat olive oil in skillet then add your green pepper & onion stirring occassionaly. Cook on medium heat for aproximately 2 minutes.

What? You’ve never made a smiley face in your skillet? No?? oh. Well, I blame this on my mom. She used to make us Mickey mouse & heart shaped pancakes. Thanks mom!

Anyway,

Fine chop 3 sundried tomatos.

Add sundried tomatos & Italian sausage to skillet, cook with pepper & onion for about 5 mintues

The sausage will finish cooking in the oven so it will not be fully cooked at this point. Drain grease from the skillet.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Unroll dough onto paper. Dough should be in an aproximate 14x 10  inch rectangle.

UPDATE: I’ve tried this again without using waxed paper & its much better without it. Just spray a little cooking spray on the cookie sheet, and roll out your dough. The longer the dough sits out the harder it is to work with but if you use it straight out of the fridge, this really is pretty easy.

Spread speghetti sauce on top of dough in the center, long ways leaving about a 2 1/2 inch border each side, more than an inch on each end.

Spoon ingredients cooked in the skillet on top of the spaghetti sauce, remembering to leave a border.

Slice tomato into slices and place on top of filling, overlapping each peice slightly.

Top with cheese.

 

With kitchen scissors or a knife, cut slits aprox 1 inch apart on each side, stopping about an inch before the filling.

Fold each end up on top of filling, then altnernately fold strips of dough slightly angled to the top of the filling, with strips  from each side overlapping slightly in the center. 

Lightly brush with egg white.

 Warning: Before this thing is cooked, it looks pretty ugly so don’t be scared. Just let that thing cook & you’ll be a happy camper.

Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

YUM YUM.  

 Note: The parchment paper will be fairly easy to remove from stromboli when its cooled. I’ve considered trying to make the stomboli without the parchment paper but am afraid that it will make wrapping it in the raw form, very difficult.

More recipes to come, including a fruity kind of salad/desert and the BEST ever Guacamole.

 

Lite Summer Jello Cake

This Jell-o cake is a lite, and cool, sweet treat for a hot summer day, or really any day.

You can make it with regular Jell-o and regular whipped cream but I have served it in it’s ‘lite’ version & nobody ever realized it. They gobbled it up like it was full-on sugar overload.

1-  box of white cake mix

1 – 12 oz can of diet 7-Up

2 – pkgs of Cherry Jell-o .30 oz

Note: When Jello-o is made make sure you hold out at least 1 to 1 1/2 cups or just make one pkg

 

1 – tub of lite or fat free whipped cream

Ok, for those of you who haven’t heard of soda cakes, this is the different part.

Pour the contents of your cake mix into the bowl & 12 oz of soda, no eggs, no oil. Just the soda. Don’t worry, it will cook & rise normally.

I have used other white sodas but prefer the flavor of 7Up for this recipe.

Mix well until blended. Poor batter into your baking dish, saving just a little at the bottom of the bowl for you to ‘clean up’ later <wink wink, nudge nudge>. Place your cake in the oven and while its cooking, go lick, I mean, clean the bowl.

Refer to the back of your cake box for baking times.

When cake is done, let cool for a few hours.

Use the handle of a wooden spoon or something of similar size (I used this fork) to poke holes in the cake. I poke about 3 – 4 holes across, in rows aprox 1 to 2 inches apart.

Prepare sugar free Jell-o as instructed on packet and then pour over cake making sure to douse generously. In preparing two .30 oz pkgs of jello, I usually leave about 2 or 3 cups out of the cake to pour in cups and snack on later. 

Ohhhh, see those beautiful vege’s behind the Jell-o, those my dear are for the Italian Sausage Stromboli recipe coming soon. My mouth is watering just thinking about its yummie-ness. 

Get out your lite or fat free cool whip and schmear it on top of your cake.

You can even decorate it on top with fruit, get all fancy & stuff.

I didn’t. I had too many other things to do that day. It was still de-licious.

 After you’ve schmeared on the whipped cream, refrigerate & serve when your kids (or spouse) are screaming, crying, or otherwise driving you nuts. It should quiet them down at least temporarily. Hopefully it will also put a smile on their faces & they will forget they were ever acting out in the first place.

Heres hoping!

Stromboli now posted —> https://mamarazzipages.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/italian-sausage-stromboli/