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Snow drought is over but is my writer’s drought?


Snowy front deck 2/2/23 (look through Japanese Maple and to your right

In the above photo, if you squint through the middle of the Japanese maple, shift your vision slightly to the right, and use a smidge of imagination, you’ll see part of our front walkway covered in snow. Yes, our snow drought here in southwest Virginia is over. We’ve had no snow in December 2022 or January 2023. Each winter Blacksburg usually receives a foot of white powder, but this year snow has been AWOL, much like my blog writing.

I ask you to imagine snow on our deck and if you can’t, here’s a photo from March 2022.

Hold that image. The front deck walkway covered in snow is important because it helped me with my writer’s drought.

When we first woke up Thursday morning and saw the snow, my husband suggested that it would be good to sweep the snow off the walkway. Except for a few years here and there like Atlanta, Georgia, and the Kwajalein Islands, he’s lived mainly in New Jersey, snow country. 

So I listen to him about snow removal as he knows more about that subject than I who had always lived in the South, except for these last ten years in Blacksburg. For me, Blacksburg is semi-south, as it gets way more snow than I ever had to snowplow or shovel in 62 southern years. I’ve learned it’s best to remove it quickly before it melts during the warm part of the day and then refreezes at night to form a lovely skating rink on your front deck.

I get the big broom because John said sweep the walkway. In my heart I know he really means shovel. We’ve known each other for 11 years, and by now I can translate the spoken word to the unspoken meaning. Instead of following my intuition and because I don’t like the snow shovel, I started with the broom.

When I had swept about halfway down the walk, my boots and broom left impacted snow, sure to be hard to remove with a broom. Immediately I halted and retrieved the hated snow shovel. I always think it is much heavier than it is. 

But Voila! This snow was fluffy, the shovel light, and I cleared the deck having fun as I pitched the sugar-like snow onto the ground where it belonged. I still had those impacted snow prints that I had to carefully remove with the shovel. I did not want to scrape up paint with the impacted snow.


Almost clean deck except for those darn boot and broom prints.

As I looked down at my fairly clean deck with only those icy boot and broom imprints, I thought about my struggle to write this blog. Sometimes I have the wrong tools (like the broom):

  1. My laptop is not charged so I can’t escape to the loft where I feel comfortable writing. 
  2. I’m out in the car and see a situation or experience a moment that inspires me, but I have no notebook or pen for jotting down the idea. 
  3. I think that Word Press is just too difficult (I long for PageMaker) to quickly post my ideas and photos—too much hassle and my ideas fade away, much like the snow did on Thursday. 

But I can avoid those problems. I can keep the laptop charged, store pens and tiny notebooks in my purse, and sign up for Word Press classes (if only I could figure out those international hours). I’ll do these tasks because I must think of myself as a blogger. I must take myself seriously. My son Michael encourages me to acknowledge I am a writer and to act like one! He sounds more like the parent and I the offspring. My writing sisters Sarah, Alice, Alisa, Anne, Jennifer, and Betty do the same. Thank you my writing friends.

The mistake with the broom that caused the icy boot and broom prints are like the mistakes I make in writing (probably several in this post). Okay, I don’t really hate the shovel just rather dislike it. Sweeping sounds easier (and is) than shoveling, but in this instance, I should have gone with my first instinct.  I needed to shovel not sweep the snow. I need to shovel words onto my blog, not sweep them away with excuses that are pretty pitiful. I need to stop worrying over not writing and write what I feel and believe. And believe me, it’s easier to shovel snow than it is to write. 

I need to click those keys, hone those Word Press skills, and let the words flow.

So I came in from the cold and headed for my laptop. That writer’s drought was about to end.

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Blackberry Karma

Blackberries in pail—Photo by Valeria Terekhina on Unsplash

My mother Helen loved blackberry jam with seeds—purplish-black, succulent berries perfectly preserved. Before she could make her first batch one summer in the early 70’s, she fell ill. She summoned me to her bedside and made me, who had never preserved, canned, or jammed anything, promise to save her blackberries.

Mother the summer of the blackberries with her pal Mancos.

So I reluctantly agreed. I followed her recipe meticulously but had trouble deciding when the “almost” jam had thickened to “real” jam. I let it cook and cook and—blackberry concrete. For years my mother laughed as she told friends how I ruined her prized blackberries. “You could stick a spoon in the jar, turn it upside down, and neither jam nor spoon would budge.”

That fateful day in August haunts me to this day. Since the pandemic and its repercussions, I am acutely aware of food insecurity and how wasteful I was with my mother’s blackberries. Whether driven by a need for independence during shortages, a way to feed hungry neighbors, or better-tasting food, preserving your own food is once again popular.

Commercially preserved foods now overwhelm us with unimaginable choices. But a pantry filled with your own canned foods comforts us. These delicacies taste better than store-bought and are more easily accessible—just in case natural disasters, economic downturns, or even wars surprise us.

Humans have preserved produce or “put things up” as we Southerners say, literally forever. Maybe I should try again? 

Even though I too share my mother’s love for blackberry jam with seeds (which by the way is almost impossible to find in stores), recently I have developed a new fruit passion. Figs, that tear-shaped fruit that tempts me every August, send me off on treasure hunts through farmers’ markets and Amish stores.

Tired of hearing me complain about a dearth of “good homemade” fig preserves, my dear friend Kim surprised me this year with pints of fig preserves and strawberry-fig jam. She made them, especially for me and one other friend who shares my fig addiction. These delicacies, made from figs ripened on trees her mother had planted years ago, reminded me of my blackberry jam fiasco. Unlike me, she successfully follows her mother Julia Sutton’s recipes and makes these prized homemade delights.

Kim Wrenn’s Fig Preserves
Recipes are from Kim’s mother, Julia Sutton

Every year my mother and grandmother pickled cucumbers and okra, canned tomatoes, preserved pears, and made jams—techniques foreign to me. This summer I plan to follow in their footsteps and at least erase that bad blackberry jam karma. Kim has shared her mother’s “foolproof” recipes with me (see below) and promises to help me make the fig preserves and jam I love so much.

This summer I’ll let you know if they are “Phyllis” proof or if I have another batch of fruit concrete. Fingers crossed! 

Question for readers:  Besides freezing, canning, curing, fermenting, have you pickled, Pasteurized (thank you Louis Pasteur), flash frozen (thanks Clarence Birdseye), vacuum packed, freeze-dried, buried, root cellared your food? 

The Afghanis preserve grapes for six months by sealing them in clay pots called kanginas. Do you have other methods that you have tried or know about?

Helping others with recipes: If you are interested in helping end food insecurity or just in delicious recipes from around the world, visit The Common Ingredient….. is Love–thecommoningredient.com. This recipe-sharing website advocates for non-profits, churches, and food banks that feed the hungry. While website visitors search for down-home as well as gourmet recipes or submit their favorite recipes, they also discover ways to help end hunger.

Recipes

Strawberry-Fig Jam 

Julia Sutton’s recipe as told to her daughter Kim Wrenn

3 cups mashed full ripe figs

2 packages (3 oz) Strawberry Jello®

3 cups sugar

Pinch of salt

Mix all together and cook for 15 to 18 minutes

For scalded jars

Wash and rinse jars thoroughly either by hand or in the dishwasher. Sterilize jars by pouring boiling water in them. Put on a pan (such as a big cookie sheet) in 200 degree oven to let them dry out. Let them stay in there until you fill the jars with hot jam. (Hot jam in the hot jar helps seal the jar. No water bath needed.)

Remove one jar at a time from oven and add strawberry mixture to jar while the jar is warm. Leave about 1 inch from top of jar.

Fill sink or pan with boiling water. Dip jar tops and flats in boiling water. Dry with paper towel and put them on jar. Seal with ring. Before sealing be sure to wipe top of jar with really hot cloth to clean off jam that might have dropped on jar top when filling. Sticky jam on the jar will prevent sealing.

Wipe sealed jars with dishcloth and place jars aside. Don’t slide the jar around. Just leave them on countertop undisturbed. You will hear the “pop” when they seal.

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Fig Preserves

Julia Sutton’s recipe as told to her daughter Kim Wrenn

Wash and cut stems from 4 cups of figs. (Don’t use overripe figs.) Put in pot.

Add 3 cups of sugar and let the mixture sit a little while, about 30 minutes.

Put on stove and real slowly let the sugar melt. (Use low heat—not lowest setting)

Take a spoonful of juice and put in a saucer to see if it is thick enough. You want syrupy—not runny, but not too thick.

For scalded jars

Wash and rinse jars thoroughly either by hand or in the dishwasher. Sterilize jars by pouring boiling water in them and then draining. Put jars on a pan (such as a big cookie sheet) in 200 degree oven to let them dry out. Let them stay in there until you fill the jars with hot jam. (Hot jam in the hot jar helps seal the jar. No water bath needed.)

Remove one jar at a time from oven and add fig preserves to jar while the jar is warm. Leave about 1 inch from top of jar.

Fill sink or pan with boiling water. Dip jar tops and flats in boiling water. Dry with paper towel and put them on jar. Seal with ring. Before sealing, be sure to wipe top of jar with really hot cloth to clean off jam that might have dropped on the jar when filling. Sticky jam on the jar will prevent sealing.

Wipe sealed jars with dish cloth and place jars aside. Don’t slide the jar around. Just leave them on countertop undisturbed. You will hear the “pop” when they seal.

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The Reluctant Writer

It all seemed so simple when I first retired. At last! I had time to write! Oh what plans I had—

Short story about Dixie Carter’s wedding in McLemoresville, TN. Wasn’t sure what else I might construct a story around, but I started on that one.

A local writer’s group sponsored The Valley Voices writing contest, and I was determined to submit to that group’s competition. Now what could I write that would impress the judges?

And yes, I must start journaling—writing down stories about my experiences as the Public Information Director for a North Carolina Sheriff’s Office. There was this time when a citizen 


Working with Jim Sughrue, Raleigh Police, & Amanda Lamb, WRAL
as Wake County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Director

insisted on telling me about how ticks had infested her yard, her house, her body. And just what did that have to do with crime in our county? I couldn’t wait to tell that story. 

And then there was the time that a grieving mother picketed outside my office window. A sad tale filled with murder, twins being born with the veil, fake detectives, and mug shots drawn in pencil on paper plates. That story needed to be told to emphasize the need for mental health assistance. That mother’s experience lives on in my heart—her story and its effect on me would make for good reading.

But I was new to Blacksburg. My husband had lived here since 1996, but my residency didn’t begin until 2013. So it was off to the Blacksburg Newcomers Club (BBNC) that welcomed me warmly. Oh what Interest Groups they had for me to explore—Wine Group, Book Club (not 1 but 2), Lunch Bunch, eventually Crochet, Walking, and of course, a Writers’ Group, and our Circle Supper where the dearest and truest friends lay in wait for me.

My Circle Supper Co-horts–Me, Bonnie Bunger, Cheryl Green, & Linda Moll

Naturally, I went head first into all the activities, serving on the Board as its Corresponding/Recording Secretary.  Even though the Dixie Carter story sat unfinished on my lap top and the Grieving Mother story rattled around in my brain but not on paper or disc, I told myself that I was writing—writing letters and notes and minutes for BBNC. 

Then my parents fell ill. Literally, my father fell and broke his hip which meant no one to care for our mother plagued with Alzheimer’s.

Ten hour trips to Tennessee with my sister and sometimes alone to care for them, to helplessly witness their decline, their death, occupied my time although journalling about this experience helped. Ok, I was writing. I ended up with some very cathartic memoirs about this time in my life, but who would want to read them?

Here lately, I notice that any time I sit down to write, I find an excuse to do something else. Some days my house is spotless as I clean out pantries, clean bathrooms, read that book for our next book club meeting, clean my jewelry, empty the dishwasher, read FlipBoard—do anything but write. I spend my time chasing butterflies but not writing.

And if I have written the rare story or essay, I am afraid to let it go. It must be perfect! I will delete a the and add a this; insert a comma or rarely delete one (I love the Oxford comma). I move paragraphs, change character names, switch between passive voice (usually a no-no) and active voice (a yes-yes). l am afraid to have anyone read it until I think it is perfect.

But why would anyone want to read what I have written? 

Since I wrote that last sentence, I have continued to procrastinate about writing. Why not take a ride to Paint Bank, VA to see the buffalo at Hollow Hill Farms? Why not make a Texas Trash Pie for my neighbor’s father? Why not organize my greeting cards or prune my daffodils?

But look—words not on paper but on a screen, on a disc! Thanks to my writing friend and blog mentor who encouraged me to examine the reasons for my procrastination, I wrote. You see the results in the text above. Basically, I think, I am afraid, worried I have nothing to say that is meaningful, and no routine. Maybe I need a supervisor, someone with assignments for me. I don’t have writer’s block—I have lots of ideas but no reason to follow through with them.

What motivates you to write, paint, crochet, knit, do anything creative? Am I the only one with these issues? Maybe I’m just lazy.

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Friends are essential–my life lesson

I wish I knew who created this poster for it speaks of a life lesson I learned in 1989. I was 39 years old and during a routine physical, the doctor announced I had two heart murmurs. Those murmurs meant open heart surgery, weeks out of work, and out of the kitchen (the least of my worries as “cook” has always been a four letter word for me).  But I would need help. My then husband Danny and my now and forever son took excellent care of me. They loved me, and I soon discovered so many others did also.

My sister, my best friend, Valerie, flew in from Florida to cook (not a four-letter word for her), grocery shop for Pinwheels for my husband, rescue Gershwin (my rescue cat) from hanging on ferns and being gently run over. Never has a sister shown such love and kindness to an older sister, who according to her, had made her wash dishes and clean house as a six year old.

Ok, I was suppose to be baby sitting her, but my friends were calling, my boyfriend was calling, what was a teenager to do? Find a foot stool so she could reach the sink and wash those dishes before mother came home from work.

(Val is in the red dress at the left. Photo courtesy of Phil Williams)

Now that didn’t happen a lot, and I’m thinking there was some embellishment on her part, but bottom line–my sister was there for me when I needed her, always has been, and is my best friend. Val is a keeper. I didn’t realize how much I loved her until that year when she sacrificed so much to help me. Kisses and hugs dearest sister, dearest friend.

Celia Kay Dean Smith, whose name I can rarely even think of without tears welling in my eyes, another keeper. Celia and I have been friends since 1973 when she substituted for me in my 7th and 8th grade English classes. That was my first year to teach, and I caught every cold, every virus, even German measles, thus Celia stepping in to fill my shoes.

And in 1989, she stepped in again. Since our first meeting, we had learned to really like  Riunete wine(our tastes improved with the years), Planters’ Punch, Cosmopolitans; we had browsed art museums, picked strawberries, cried on each other’s shoulders, laughed until we almost wet our pants, and remained close even though she had moved from Milan, TN to Raleigh, NC to Toronto to Barbados to Danville, CA to Atlanta and back almost home to Jackson, Mississippi.

Celia is the beautiful woman on the left. Last photo I had with her.

She, too, had rescued Gershwin from being Tarzan and swinging from hanging ferns but never from being run over. That heroic act we reserved for Valerie. She also cooked, cleaned, and flew miles across the country from Danville just to help me.

Celia was an artist, a realtor, a World Book saleswoman, a mom, the oldest of five sisters, a Grancee, a brain cancer victim. When she needed help, she didn’t want me to come or that’s what I kept telling myself. At the time, my father was ill, and when she was on her death bed, he was recovering from surgery. No way could I go to her. I will never forget the night I received the text from her husband, “Celia is with Jesus.” 

But she was not with me and never would be again, except in my heart and soul.

In addition to Valerie and Celia, my friends with whom I worked at the North Carolina legislature and the NC Banking Commission overwhelmed me with visits, with meals, with fragrant powders and lotions, and lavished me with kindness, with unadulterated love and compassion. Never had I felt such an outpouring of friendship and companionship. 

A cliche but true–no man is an island. All my friends were like Carole King singing “You’ve got a friend.” I have never forgotten those two months of surgery and recuperation. I finally understood how important friends were and how important it was to be a friend. 

I know that family and true friends are really one and the same.

Me

My family, my sister Valerie, and my friend Celia are rare people. They showed up at just the right time, and stayed by my side through the rough times and through the good times. 

And even though Celia no longer walks this earth, she is in my heart and gently reminds me–“Be a Keeper.” May you find your own Keepers and be one as well.

Soaring out of my comfort zone

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Nervous smile as I await take off from New Castle International Gliderport, New Caste, VA

That smile on my face hides the grimace in my gut as I prepared for my first sailplane ride. Launch took place from the New Castle International Gliderport in New Castle, Virginia, home of the Blue Ridge Soaring Society (BRSS), our host for this adventure. Cecil McBride, the scribe of my husband’s motorcycle group, organized rides for members who wanted to sail the friendly skies in lieu of two wheels on asphalt.

White knuckled flyer that I am in a plane that has an engine, why would I choose to soar in an aircraft without an engine? Well, my thoughts at the time were that we couldn’t really lose power and plummet from 30,000 feet to a certain death. After all, the tow plane would take us high enough (but not too high) to catch an updraft, or if I want to sound really knowledgable, a thermal. My thoughts were should any emergency arise, we would just glide to earth. No fuel means no fire, just in case of an emergency landing

Oh woman of little learning! (Remember a little learning is a dangerous thing.) Guess what? Sailplanes can fall from the sky, do go fast, and one can die in a glider. Not likely, but possible. So glad I had not consulted Google before sailing away.

My biggest concern after the pilot’s orientation about our flight, was that somehow, I would not disconnect us correctly from the tow plane.(My only job.) Such a silly worry, but my overactive imagination conjured up within seconds all sorts of weird occurrences–we wouldn’t disconnect somehow causing both us and the tow plane to go down or we would follow behind the tow plane and not experience this adventure and be the laughing stock of the BRSS and the motorcycle group. All my fault. 

Ok, none of that happened or probably could not have happened. I never asked. Once we safely disconnected from the tow plane, caught an updraft, and began to soar, so did my heart. Even though the day was not sunny so another worry, where were our thermals, the silence filled my ears–just the whish, whish, of the air around us, beneath us, over us, calmed me down, and I took in every second, every frame of the scenes running under us. 

When I was much, much younger, I dreamed that I could fly. I felt myself bobbing in the air, floating on updrafts as I flew over hills and into valleys. Was this my dream come true? Perhaps, but that freedom of being buoyed only by the air, I have not felt since that cloudy, October day in 2015.

I sailed out of my comfort zone because I like challenges, because I do not want to dissolve away into old age, with only my walker to support me, because my anxiety prompts me to try those adventures that make me anxious. I’ve lived a good life but I want more until the day I decide that my life is complete. Not there yet.

My father’s wallet

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Dear Daddy,

I found your wallet today, the one you were always misplacing whether you were at home on Brentwood Drive, Milan, or at Morning Pointe, your last residence, there in Chattanooga with my sister Valerie not too far away. Guess I’d misplaced it this time, forgetting that I had tucked it away in my L.L. Bean Boat Bag, the repository of all my treasured “Must Keeps.”

My father’s wall

Holding your wallet feels like holding your hands, wrinkled and worn but amazingly soft and tender, despite the decades of hard work. Those hands skillfully filed saws for our livelihood, built beautiful cherry wood tables for our delight, sewed sequins on Val’s majorette uniforms, pushed lawn mowers, pushed us high in our swings, pushed us off on our first bike rides, pushed us off into the arms of our husbands-to-be, pulled us close when we needed a h

“Hold our hands, Daddy.” That’s what we whispered two years ago as you lay in your hospice bed. Hold on tight! But you couldn’t. Your fingers, interlaced with ours, slowly loosened their grip. Your fingernails scraped across the crisp white sheets before you jerked your hands high into the air, seemingly surprised that it was time to go.

But I found you again. Your driver’s license photo looked up at me from your brown trifold. Tucked inside were six $1.00 bills, ready for you to spend on strawberry pie and coffee at Perkins. For an instant, you were with me. The touch of the wallet quickened my soul with your essence, making my heart smile.

You knew I was sad, didn’t you Daddy? Once again your hands were there to comfort me and pull me close when I needed love.

Thank you,

Phyl

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Confessions of an ILA member

Confessions of an ILA Member 

You’ve tried to hide it. I know it! I’ve seen you hanging around the center table, eyeing the treasure, trying to determine how you can discreetly swipe the left-behinds without looking like you’ve hailed from the backwoods with no manners whatsoever. You have the tools you need, plastic fork and paper plate. But can you pull it off, nonchalantly taking what no one else wanted or the server was too lazy to scoop up? The last guest has been served, but will that server never turn away so you can strike swiftly and discreetly?

Photograph courtesy of Jen Kiwus and Virginia Tech Women’s Club

You’ve tried to hide it. I know it! Your mind is in overdrive, desperately trying to figure out how you can politely ask for the pièce de rèsistance–a corner, what every ILA member covets. But wait, the guest in front of you has been prattling on about how delicious it all looks, her head turning ever so slightly toward that left corner lavished on two sides with a luscious blanket of creamy addiction. The other guests have been submissive, just taking what was doled out to them. But this character in front of you might not settle for the middle.  

But of course, she does not settle and asks for the corner! What now? Do you go for one of the  other two existing corners? Do you outright ask for it or do you point with your whole hand, not a finger (that would be way too impolite)? I’d suggest an ever so casual wave to the corner that has your name and no-one else’s on it! Two can play at this game!

And of course, you’d love to ask if the server could lift just one of the adornments, so carefully piped onto the surface, but that just might be too much, too devastating to the whole decor that has been so thoughtfully designed yet eventually will be decimated. Oh, well, the corner is enough, for now, but should the adornment survive…

Before negotiations

You’ve tried to hide it. I know it! It sits in front of you at the round tables so exquisitely decorated for the celebration. Temptation beckons you. I’ve seen you looking at the guests beside you, across from you, even at other tables. Do they look like folks who will understand if you indulge in your craving?  Might they be willing to help you out? Can you negotiate a  deal with complete strangers that will satisy all parties? A strategic swap would work well–your cake for their icing. Diplomatic skills must be called into action. 

After negotiations

Oh, Icing Lovers Anonymous (ILA) I share your pain. I know how you feel. I too have hung around the table with the cake that proudly boasts “Happy Retirement —— Or Happy Birthday—–Congratulations Mr. and Mrs.—-.“ I have coveted the remainder icing that languishes on the edge of the cardboard  with errant cake crumbs contaminating the abandoned border of buttercream, just asking to be devoured. Why toss such a scrumptious delicacy into the oversized black garbage bag that always seems to loom not too far away from  the reception table?

Yes, I am Phyllis Grace, and I am an Icing Lover addict, adorer, craver. 

Raspberry frosting with cupcake created by
Izzie de Sturler

How many of you have secretly opened a can of Betty Crocker vanilla frosting and eaten every ounce of it, even using your finger to extract every last bit? How many of you bake a cake just so you can make icing and then lick the bowl? You vow that you must clean up around the edges of the cake plate, just as they do on Cake Boss or Cake Wars to be sure the edges are devoid of icing and sparkling clean. This tried and true technique yields you at least one more tablespoon of that German chocolate icing or Seven Minute frosting.

Whether it is a wedding cake, birthday cake, cupcake, or frosted Krispy Kreme doughnut, a napkin must always be close at hand so you can discreetly dab at the corners of your mouth, obliterating any sign of your obsession.  

But beware, if you indulge in blue or black icing, you cannot open your mouth until at least three hours later and three gallons of punch have washed away the traces of the indelible frosting. Trust me, I know this!

Wedding cake designed by Lisa Nappi Albrecht
No, even I wouldn’t desecrate this beauty!

It’s a curse, this addiction to confection, one I can finally discuss. At one point in my life, it filled an empty place in my soul. Crisco and confectioner’s sugar assuaged black hole moments of loneliness and depression. Nothing like a sugar high (supposedly) to get you through a weekend of fighting and hateful accusations or holidays when everyone has coupled up for excursions to the beach or mountains, leaving you home alone. That’s when  you sit on the screened-in porch with a loving cat and a bowl of butter cream frosting. You stare into the green of trees and embrace a sliver of piercing sunlight as a symbol of hope.

And hope comes because you decide you deserve it. That black hole of depression has now been filled with self-confidence, a healthy love, true friends, and now and then just one sinful, rewarding, mouthful of luscious, creamy, wickedly delicious sucrose and shortening.

No more need for me to make my own icing. I can now wait until a birthday, retirement, wedding, or special night out to indulge in my secret passion. If given the choice of Bread Pudding or Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake with dark chocolate frosting, I choose cake. If given the option of Pecan Pie a la mode or Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing, I choose cake. Well, ok, I actually choose the icing.

Chocolate raspberry cake created by Izzie de Sturler

And so it goes, the need to feed on icing remains but does not overwhelm. Now and then I enjoy the sugar commingled with the Crisco that invades my taste buds with opulent pleasure. I savor every morsel, every molecule of the concoction before it slowly, luxuriously dissolves, leaving a trail of delight and satisfaction along its path.

Oh, yeah, I still hang out at the cake table, angling for a frosting heavy corner, a huge, yellow royal icing rose, or exceptionally large green leaf—not made of fondant. I do exert some discretion. However, it is no longer a need but a want. I am satisfied, sated, confident. I am an Icing Lover Admirer now, no longer anonymous and proud of it!