Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Cleaning 2015

All I wanted was a can of beans. I had no desire to wage full on war with my staples cabinet. But here I was, becoming more and more irate as each can I pushed aside was not my beloved frijoles. That does it. Breakfast burritos will have to wait. This is ridiculous.

As I reached into the dark recesses of my uppermost cabinets I found things I hadn't seen in years. I inspected each can and package for an expiration date. I was mortified. 2011??? Time for a little spring cleaning on this last day of winter 2015. I was not about to repeat the experience of a couple nights ago; a search for canned tomatoes turned up three can-didates, all expired by a couple of years. What could a year or two matter? They're tomatoes in vinegar and salt. The can was intact, not bruised or dented. I smelled them, tasted them. I ate them. Mistake. Big mistake. About halfway through my salsa I detected a metallic taste. Something off, not quite right. End of that snack. All night long I thought I might throw up. I wished I would throw up - I would feel a little less green.

So I amassed a pile of canned goods, bottled dressings and cardboard drinks, all bound for the trash. I thought about dropping them off at the "Donation" box but what if someone got sick? Simply not worth hugging the porcelain throne all night to save a few bucks. I had probably bought most of these on sale, anyway. Why do we think we must have something simply because it is marked down? What base human instinct for survival is at work here? I recalled being a young and divorced single mother, struggling to provide the most basic needs for my daughter and I--food and shelter. Every paycheck would be gone before I received it. But I always had a stockpile of canned goods and staples. Here I am, a successful business woman, a grandmother no less, and you think I would have overcome this hoarding complex.

My vow now is to keep all of my canned goods in plain sight. On a baker's rack that I never bake on. Rows in order of "use by date." My late night snacks will be oriented around which one to use next. I'm kind of excited about the possibilities. Crazy combinations I never thought of before might become new favorite go to's. Anchovies in eggs. Kidney beans in pasta. French fries in salad dressing. And I have a spare cabinet for storage... something I'll hardly ever use.

Out with the old, in with the new! I think I'm going to like my new arrangement.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Vortex of Sedona

This Pie Lady of Pie Town has been busy over the winter break. If you've been following my escapades, you know I've been attending film festivals with Director/Producer Jane Rosemont promoting the documentary The Pie Lady of Pie Town  I've learned that the process of film making and the ensuing promotion is a lot like making pie - a labor of love.

One festival was of particular interest to me. I'd never been to Sedona, AZ, but had heard about it. Vortexville. Woo Woo Land. Red rocks and crystals. Pyschics and healers. This was going to be a fun one. Sedona's International Film Festival featured 160 films this year. The event organizers, from the head honcho down to the newest volunteers, were amazingly dedicated and made all of us feel special. I made some new friends and even shared a ride with the mayor in the cargo compartment of an Explorer. I fell in love with Sedona and its good energy. Jane's storytelling ability won her the coveted "Audience Appreciation" award and we celebrated in a fine style at

Then it was time for Cinderella to hop in her pumpkin coach and get back to reality - Pie Town. But first I was going to climb a mountain. I hadn't come all this way (300 miles) to NOT take a hike. I queried the concierge at our hotel and she suggested Cathedral Rock. She circled it on a vortex map and I was off on my adventure. It was late in the day but I just had to get a red rock fix before heading to Scottsdale to visit relatives. They'd understand if I was late for dinner. I could say I got caught in a vortex.

I found the trailhead, grabbed a bottle of water and checked out the map. As I started up the trail I saw a sign that said "Are you prepared to rescue yourself?" Good point, I thought, making a mental note to watch my footing. The gentle slope soon became a steep ascent. Niches had been carved into the rocks for footholds and rock gabion baskets were placed strategically to grab onto. I pulled myself up until I found a plateau. Catching my breath, I could see my car in the parking lot way down below. It looked like a tiny toy car. Hikers started passing me on their way down. I noticed the low angle of the sun in the sky and decided I'd gone far enough. "Are you prepared to rescue yourself?" ran through my mind as I carefully chose where I put my feet.

I was certain I was the last one on the trail when a woman appeared from around the side of the mountain. She surprised me. "Would you take my picture?" she asked. "Sure" I replied, and then she volunteered to return the favor. The setting sun on the red mountains behind us made for a dramatic backdrop for our photo ops.

Meeting new friends is a perk of traveling. Isabel was from Colombia and had lots of questions about America. We made our way down the mountain together, telling stories and getting to know each other. Time flew by but it seemed like we should have been back at the parking lot by now. I voiced my concern but Isabel was confident we were almost there. I knew something was wrong when we came upon Oak Creek, rushing from recent snow melt. There was no creek on the trail I took.

Had we gotten onto a wrong trail while we were discussing world events? Isabel didn't understand my concern. She said she had rested by the creek on her way up. That's when I realized we were parked in different lots and I was not heading back to my car. I thought about backtracking but that would take at least another hour. I took one last shot of the fading light and followed my new friend into the unknown.

Now it was getting dark. And cold. Each new fork in the trail was cause for discussion. I was using the light on my phone to see the trail. Isabel's phone battery was dead and mine was on red. I wondered if we were walking in circles. We finally came to a trail marker but it made no sense. It's true - the trees all look the same at night. I calmed my edgy nerves and made an executive decison. I was going no further. I told Isabel that I was going to use my phone before it died and call for help. I dialed 911.

"What is your emergency?" the woman's voice on the phone asked. "I think I'm lost" I heard myself saying, incredulous at our situation. "Where do you think you are now?" she asked. I told her somewhere near Cathedral Rock by Oak Creek and gave her the name on the trail marker. She took my name and phone number and said she would transfer me to the sheriff's office. I made sure she knew my phone might die at any moment. Soon a man came on the line and asked me if I was alright, if I had water, and if I was alone. "Yes, yes and no" I replied. "Who is with you?" he asked. "Umm, Isabel, from Columbia, we just met on the trail." He told me he was acquiring our location from my phone's GPS, that he would send someone to help us and to stay where we were. I was in love with this man and his calming voice.

Isabel and I found ourselves in the unique position of being lost together in this dark forest, practical strangers. A heavy dampness had settled in and we were shivering. My emotions were coming down from a ledge but at the same time soaring with relief. I was stunned. How did I get so off track? Why didn't I insist on going the direction I knew was right? I didn't have time to obsess long because I heard some noises in the distance, like twigs snapping. I started to pick up large rocks and put them in a pile...just in case. My new friend seemed depressed and I felt sympathetic - she was lost in a foreign land. I needed to lighten the mood. "There's nothing we can do now but wait, so let's dance to stay warm," I said. She thought that was a great idea. We started singing and shaking our booties to The Village People, Isabel's favorite band. "Y.M.C.A.!" we shouted over and over, jumping up and down like women possessed. We giggled so loud that any wild animals were certain to be far, far away.

A short time later we heard a man yell "HELLO!" "We're HERE!" we yelled back. Deputy Sheriff Garnett came out of the darkness like a dream. He introduced himself, gave us flashlights and led us back to the trail couldn't have been more than a 15 minute walk. At Isabel's car he filed an incident report. When he asked our dates of birth Isabel and I were astonished to find we share the same birth date. WOO WOO! Email addresses and hugs were exchanged and then Deputy Garnett gave me a ride back to my car, about 25 minutes away. I sheepishly admitted how stupid I felt for getting into this situation. He kindly put things in to perspective by telling me that lots of people get lost on these trails but not all have happy endings. People fall off ledges, incur serious injuries and worse. And recently mountain lions have been sighted in this area. I could have hugged him when he said I had done exactly the right thing. He dropped me at my car and I made sure he knew that he had pie credit in Pie Town.

I drove to Scottsdale in a daze. The adrenaline was starting to subside. My relatives were happy to see me in the wee hours of the morning.  I tried to sleep but just kept replaying the bizarre events over in my brain. Restless, I got out the map the concierge had given me to try to track our misadventure. I tracked our hike leading down to Oak Creek and found the trail marker sign where we waited - and danced. There, in that very spot, was a diamond on the map. I looked at the map legend and, to my amazement, found that a diamond indicates the presence of a Vortex. WOO WOO, indeed!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

annual attempt at blogging

They say "3rd time's a Charm"... hmmm. This would then be the "Charmer" as I have attempted to start a blog each year, at about this time, only to forget to post - for another year! At least I'm consistently lazy. What is a blog, ramblings? Experiences? Epiphanies? Maybe my problem is first identifying "Who and What" the blog should be about. In my case, it's the pie, definitely the pie. I'm simply the lucky one behind the rolling pin...with a keypad staring me in the face. "Immortalize Me!" it screams. "But How?" I scream back. This is getting weird. I'm not sure I can do this. Maybe next year, about this time? But wait, what's all that crap about "Charm", then? O.K. I'll try to be brilliant... tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Back to work after a lovely winter break. January/February pretty dismal months on the top of the Divide. But now the days are longer, the temps are higher and the people are out for a drive again. Time to roll up the sleeves and get those pies in the oven!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Faced with blank screen. Decisions, decisions. What to say?

First blog. So fun!

Pie is life. Life is pie.

Hey this is pretty simple.

One slice at a time.