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June 2015

Kitchen Apothecary~ Cooling Soups ~ Chilled Cucumber & Dillweed

Chilled Cucumber & Dill Soup

It's so hot and humid in Cleveland today. With weather like this I don't really want to eat  much, but a cold soup is a quick and perfect meal for a day like today. The best part? I don't even have to use the stove because my trusty Vitamix does all of the work for me. This was truly simple and took me 5 minutes to prepare, that's it. 

In the pitcher of the Vitamix I put 4 six inch long cucumbers, 5 cups of filtered water, one and a half tablespoons of "Better than Bouillon " No Chicken , Chicken flavored base, 1 cup of really good full fat yogurt , 1/4 teaspoon of salt and1/4 cup  of onion, and a tablespoon and a half of Penzeys Sunny Paris herb blend and a teaspoonful of dried dill or a big handful of fresh dillweed. 

I turned on the Vitamix, blended on the highest setting for one minute and poured it into a bowl to chill.

Serve with some crusty bread and a lovely white cheddar and some sliced ripe pear. That's all you'll need! So easy and delicious!


My Outlander Love Affair - Happy Anniversary my own...


 wedding invitation
Our Wedding Invitation~ Faded, but still Beautiful

'When the day shall come that we do part, he said softly and turned to look at me,"if my last words are not 'I love you'-ye'll ken it was because I didna have time.” 

The Fiery Cross ~ Diana Gabaldon


I think that of all of the lines from every Book of the Outlander Series that I've ever read, these romantic words from The Fiery Cross are the ones that I love the most. I've been married now for 33 years. Gone are the years of feeling immortal and that you have all of the time in the world. When you've been married as long as I have, you begin to learn that the happily ever afters are the ones that you choose to create yourself and together everyday. Each day becomes a day to experience love fully, without hesitation, without the petty withholding of emotions that you think that you have time for in your youth.

Everyday is a day to live and love so completely that even if you don't have the chance to say goodbye, that deep within is the feeling of having said and felt everything that was ever needed to be said and felt, so that the goodbye becomes way less important then than ever. To me, thats what Jamie Fraser has always been alluding to in those words.

My dashing husband has always had his own way of saying exactly the same thing. He has looked at me time after time and said " I could die tomorrow with no regrets,  having had a love that has completely exceeded my expectations of what a marriage could be ."  He is not afraid of the mortal concept of death, a thrilling quality that very few men possess anymore and its a quality which makes him a most amazing partner in life. 

When I first met him on a cold march night, I took one look and that was it...smitten..gone. After a shy hello at the club where we met, he uttered 4 little words to me. "I play the piano".

Goddess...a Bard to boot.  Trouble, with a capital T and the sexiest bee-stung lower lip that I'd ever seen.


 He came closer and we began to dance. He smelled a bit like French lavender, tobacco and windfall apples... a combination which is a real problem for someone like me. Lutes and mandolins started flowing through my thoughts and I quickly became lost in a lusty Jacobean fantasy. For the sake of full disclosure, I  need to say that it was the early 80's and there were hallucinogens involved. Bear in mind, that in a million years on a normal day I wouldn't have paid any attention  the incredible man standing in front of me because he was way to nice for  for me and I had a thing for nasty men. The LSD I'd taken was my own personal trip through the standing stones..I took one look at this guy and knew that I had known him before, that I would marry him and it was just a question of when. 



What I remembered when I came back around was a day dream of a beautiful meadow , gorgeous dappled bay horses with ribbons in their manes, beautiful, naked young men clothed only in flowing long hair with lutes and mandolins playing something that sounded vaguely like "Mood for a Day". My soon to be lover ( I hoped beyond hope!)  was there as well.  Looking back I've always been surprised that I didn't hit the floor in a truly indecent sort of swoon....He was my dearest fantasy come to life right in front of me....

He was a wiry farm boy who  had come to live in the city. He had the ability to make me feel safe wherever we were and I found myself in some pretty tough places with him.  Much to my delight, he was also "not quite a member" of a somewhat notorious Cleveland Heights gang called BAT and these guys were constantly being arrested for drunken brawls and other such fun and games. For a polite and proper girl from the suburbs, this was quite irresistible.  And...best of all, he really did play the piano and still does... 

I pursued him relentlessly, even though I was still involved in another relationship. I couldn't help myself...he had the most beautiful blue eyes that I'd ever seen , bravery and passion that I'd never experienced before and obviously at the end of the day , he won the girl.  In the middle of all of the chaos he boldly walked out the door and moved across the state leaving me by myself to figure the whole "other relationship thing"  out. Four months later when I called him, prepared to beg and grovel, he came back into the relationship with no questions asked as if he'd simply been waiting for me to come to my senses. We were reunited that weekend and have been inseparable since.  

I quickly found myself wondering what it would be like to spend the rest of my life with him so I did what any normal girl does and asked him to marry me!  


One year later we were wed in my parents back yard, underneath the blooming purple wisteria trellis that my father worked on for months for the occasion. Goddess, we were babies...I was 23 and Jim was 21, but daddy knew another great man when he saw one. My father pulled me aside and told me it was the happiest day of his life because he knew that he'd never have to worry about me ever again. Independent woman that I was, I was so annoyed , probably because deep down I knew that my dad was right. 

Twenty four years later on Christmas night, Jim got down on one knee and asked me to remarry him in front of my whole family and our friends. He'd bought me a beautiful new engagement ring and had planned it all out with my mother. I think that he knew that I'd always wondered if he'd said yes the first time because he felt that he had to, a fear that he put to rest the second he bowed in front of me and took my hand.

The next year in a beautiful sunset ceremony on the beach in La Jolla, I was able to raise a toast to my father because what he'd spoken in 1982 was the truth. I have never had to worry about a thing in my entire married life. I have been loved, cared and provided for. To be sure we've had problems and spurts of pain and anger, but all of it is woven into a tapestry that is so lush and beautiful that I am grateful for it all...even the nasty bits. 

I've spent my life, much of it growing up with a man who is more moved by love of me, our son and our family than he is by anything else, except for his guitars, piano and the Celtic music that he adores. He is literally lit from within by a deep and connected spirituality that is not at all superficial. Within hours of meeting him I knew for certain that I’d met the man who is my soulmate, my twin ray for all of eternity. Jim moves through this crazy new world with the ease of a sage but he also knows how to milk a cow and dance the jig. He is the perfect mate for me. It is because of him that I have the time to express the ideas that are constantly springing forth onto these pages. He is my greatest muse...

 I still think that he's one of the sexiest men alive and I’ve always felt that way about him even after 33 years of watching him brush his teeth and listening to him belch. He’s quite attractive in what my mother called a “Prince Charles sort of way” and he looks marvelous wearing his Keith clan tartan. He doesn’t wear his kilt with all of the pomp and nonsense, he wears it with a blue Scottish wool sweater and looks as if he’s walked right out of the Highlands. He is quite formal about his tux though and he wears it like a man born to it...  


 His very thick hair is gray in all of the right places and long enough for me to play with which I do all of the time. We are aging together after so many years of growing up together and he tells me all of the time when he find me fretting over a new gray hair or a wrinkle that even when I am old and gray that I will still be as beautiful to him as I was on the very first day that we met, but even more so. 

How can you not fall totally in love with a man like that?



There’s always been something about him that seemed a bit timeless, of another place where men were a bit more dignified and by contrast much more bawdy, when men wore their hair long and wavy and they weren’t at all afraid to wear velvet and a bit of lace with their leather. He used to ride my stallion bareback with only a halter for control. I can easily picture him with a saber and a pistol although now the only weapons that he brandishes are purely raw courage, a rich and sarcastic sense of humor, a deep and passionate spirituality and his lightning quick intellect. On the softer side of things, he cried the day that we first married and has been a perfect father to our son, who I am so proud to say has become a man in the mold of his father, loyal, passionate and true. 


He is loyal and so very kind, but don't ever mistake that sweetness for weakness. He is the only man I've ever known who has been man enough to handle me.  I never tire of kissing him, of loving him and caring for him. He knows that I still think that he's the cutest boy that I've ever seen.  I still want to chew on that lower lip every time I see it.  (I can just hear my son thinking...ewwwwww!)


Last year, in a crazy climbing accident I almost lost him. He fell when descending Camelback Mountain in Arizona , hit his head and when I got to  him after he called me (I still don't know how he did that!) I found him in shock and covered in blood. He lost his memory and the only things he remembered were me, Alex and Alex's beloved Angie.

It was completely terrifying. It took him three days to begin to remember anything and he still doesn't remember how he got off of the mountain or anything about the hospital. Not a day goes by anymore that I am not grateful that he's still with me.  Not a day goes by anymore that I take the next day for granted. That day last March could easily have been the day when there wasn't enough time to say goodbye. Nothing has been the same since then, in the best way possible. That day, I realized completely what Jamie Fraser meant the day that he uttered those beautiful words to Claire. 

Because I am the moderator of a fairly large Outlander fan page, people ask me all the time..."What is it with you guys? Are you so lonely or unhappy in your marriages that you need to escape?" I always laugh when I get that question. The amount of men who write saying that their marriages have become even more amazing since they have begun to share Outlander with their wives is astonishing. Those of us with amazing marriages are generally not the ones who get the press, in fact it's quite the opposite.  

What we get in Outlander is a beautiful romance set in the middle of a real and sometimes terrifying life. We get to witness lovers who age together and have things happen to them, sometimes even really bad things. We get to watch them work together to reach new levels of love and communication. We get to experience truly mature lust and passion and for those of us that have that ourselves, we stop feeling guilty about sharing it as if there's something the matter with us because we can't keep our hands off of our mates.  We don't watch and read Outlander because we're lonely. On the contrary we do it because we are affirmed for the marvelous marriages that we've worked so hard to create or because it helps us stay hopeful that real love is indeed possible.

One of the silliest comments that I ever read was from a fan that was complaining about not wanting to read about " Old people having sex!" No wonder it's said that great sex is wasted on the young! It gives us both great pleasure that we can still embarrass our kid...

    I was so lucky. I opened up my eyes one day and found my twin ray standing right in front of me. For all of you who are still waiting for your Jamie....If I can find him ... then you can do it too. He's out there waiting for you. Just look deep inside and let your heart speak to you...look where you've never been brave enough to look before and then listen to the whisperings of your soul and follow it's lead.  Men like  Jamie Fraser are real. I know because obviously I married one. 

Make no mistake...being married to this man has required fearlessness that I never thought I possessed, because he pushes me hard to be extraordinary, not ordinary.  I have always been grateful that I found the courage to choose him instead of the fairly boring life that I know that I would have been doomed to live without him. Thank goodness the heart is a lusty organ that yearns for completion but knows it when it finds its true home. I have always longed for  a life full of joy and with him I have found it. 


I love you James Gehring and you know better than anyone what a greedy woman I am....I long for at least 60 more anniversaries with you and you know that I'm stubborn enough to  try to make that happen. That being said....I do understand. Our life together has and continues to exceed my expectations and more. 

Happy Anniversary my own...

 I love you so much at times that my heart just breaks with the pleasure of it....and I'd do it all over again if the result was that I'd wake up every morning with you simply smiling at me.






 For more of my Outlander Musings please click here!



My Outlander Love Affair ~ Episode 16~ Rising from the Ashes of Wentworth Prison ~ Forget the Fairy Tale.


"The story is told of a bowl that was much loved by a military ruler. One day during a gathering, a servant accidentally dropped the bowl, which broke into five pieces.  Everyone paused, fearing for the young man as the military leader was known to possess a quick,  harsh temper.  Then one of the guests improvised a comic poem about the incident, provoking laughter all around and restoring the leader to good spirits. 

This story goes on to say that instead of the break "…diminishing [the bowl's] appeal, a new sense of its vitality and resilience raised appreciation to even greater heights."  The bowl had become more beautiful for having been broken.  The true life of the bowl "…began the moment it was dropped…"

The origin of this story is unknown to me , but nonetheless it is beautiful. 


The long awaited Outlander Finale ~ Episode 16 was powerful, compelling and utterly devastating. It was also one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen. I was moved, touched and inspired by it. The acting was brilliant...So brilliant in fact that I forgot that they were acting. I'm not one to have worried this whole time about whether Sam was big enough or whether Cait's  eyes were the right color. I could care less that Ron Moore and company deviated a bit from the book. The whole of it, book and TV are now woven forever into the beautiful tapestry that I know as Outlander.

This brings me to another point. I've been reading so many articles since Saturday, many are quite complimentary but just as many aren't. There's still a lot of complaining going on in the fandom..." Jamie was broken too easily...My Jamie wouldn't have given up or given in so quickly...He would have fought harder for Claire...He looked weak."

I read these things and I wonder. What do women really want? Do they want a man or do they want a fairytale superhero? Do we really want the fairy tale ? If so stay with the books which are exquisite, but allow the reader to project their own fantasies onto them. That's fine, but not for me.

I'd prefer the man thank you...the risen one, the one who walked through fire and came back more human than before. The problem with seeing something  like we saw on Saturday is that the fairytale exploded right before our very eyes.

I, for one, am glad of it. Rape is real. So is torture. It still happens everyday even in this country. Just last year in Cleveland where I live, three young women who had been imprisoned by their abuser were freed from the house where they'd been kept the whole time. It happened after ten years of captivity. They were repeatedly raped, starved, kept in chains and regularly beaten.  there were babies born...No one knew they were there...they'd been given up for dead. We were gobsmacked when the news came in that they'd been discovered. How did he get away with it was the question on everyone lips. They were freed and have been making lives for themselves slowly and with lots of love and support but the fact is that something was stolen from them...it was the feeling of inner safety...of peace, of strength. When they were first photographed they looked like ghosts. It is up to them to reclaim that strength for themselves. No one else can give it back to them. they are choosing, each in her own way to go on.



 So let's talk about Jamie Fraser.  We saw a sexually innocent 23 year old man who'd already been flogged nearly to the point of death once in his life and then flogged again. His father died as a result of seeing him flogged (so he thought) . He meets a woman , falls madly in love with her (as 23 year olds often do) and loyally and idealistically gives his life, body and virginity over to her keeping.

She then runs away, gets captured by his worst enemy, he then braves almost certain death and rescues her and then has to rescue her again from almost being burned at the stake after he warns her not to leave the castle. Then he finds out that she's a time traveler and has another living husband. He does the right thing...gives her up (remember he's 23!) and then she chooses him and they go back to his ancestral home whereupon he is learning how to be the Laird, (He's 23!) gets completely blackmailed by a British deserter and betrayed into the hands of the British.

 Then he's delivered from the noose by his worst enemy and subsequently saves his wife's life by courageously surrendering his body to his worst enemy. No one else knows where he is. He's brutalized, tortured , raped repeatedly, branded and eventually in exhaustion and delirium, made love to. He orgasms and is totally ashamed. He's betrayed himself and he's a 23 year old Husband, Laird and Warrior living in 18th century Scotland. The one small mercy that his tormenter could have given him was cruelly taken away from him.

There was no heroes death.

Think about it. If this was your real life experience, don't you think that your soul and psyche would be a bit shattered? Might your humanity be shaken? He's not Superman for goodness sakes and he was never written that way. Claire is the sci-fi hero here, her part of the story is the fantastical bit. Jamie is a flesh and blood man living in a violent and unpredictable bit of history which happens to be quite real.   Nothing more and certainly no less wonderful because he's really human. That's what they showed us...they gave us the brutal truth.


What you saw at the end of the show on Saturday was a broken man who'd make a choice. Sam Heughan portrayed him remarkably well, the gauntness, the pain in his eyes..the grasping at happiness upon the news that his wife was with child.  The last scenes were of a man still haunted but who made the choice to live for his wife and unborn child. That doesn't mean that he suddenly decided that all was well.

I have had many clients on my table, men and women who have been repeatedly raped, abused and tortured.  I'm usually the healer of last resort because you've got to be pretty freaked out to try something as out there as Shamanic Soul Retrieval or regression work.  I'm kidding really, because for the record , I don't think that it's out there at all!

They come to me broken through no fault of their own, but because the psychology of the human being can only stand so much before it shatters in shards that are sharper than glass. They are scared to endure any more pain...but even more afraid to let it go unseen forever.

My article last week spoke about a beloved friend of mine who went through a period of great depression and subsequent redemption. In that article I spoke of the suffering and torture that we kept uncovering through the regression work that we did, lifetime after lifetime of it.

What I didn't mention was one of the things that he shared with me after the work that we did together. He said that the rape, torture and humiliation weren't what left him feeling so powerless...he could have endured that. What was so shattering was the arousal, the feeling of needing and giving into the pleasure in the middle of all that pain and then having it sadistically turned on him. It left him with no idea of reality...no identity. If you no longer know who you are and you don't know who you've become what's left in the middle is chaos. 

One of the things that the critics seem to forget is that all of these actors really prepared for their parts. These scenes were raw and shattering for a reason. They had to become people who could rape and torture and they had to become victims of that abuse. It took a long time to film for that very reason. How do you create that without losing a bit of yourself for the time that it takes?

The answer as to why Sam looked  as terrified and haunted as he did, is that he's a magnificent actor who dove straight into the part fearlessly. So did Tobias. It was utterly the bravest thing that I've ever seen because it was as close to real as we're ever going to see. Men don't emerge from that unbroken, including Black Jack Randall and I don't mean because he was trampled by cows.  Those that appear to, usually become closed off and cruel themselves. There's no question that many victims of abuse go on to become abusers.

So I'd like to offer up a different perspective. It takes time to heal. It takes constant inspection. It takes magic, but not of the fairy tale sort. It takes rebuilding from the inside out.  Just like the Japanese bowl that I offer to you here, the broken man can be healed with threads of gold or silver and he is more beautiful, more compassionate and understanding because of having been broken. He is no longer a boy. 

He is broken...not beaten. A vulnerable man allowed to express his anger, fear, confusion and pain becomes a stronger man. I am grateful that Ron Moore and company allowed us the glimpse into the real man...not the fantasy. We are allowed a glimpse into the becoming of Jamie Fraser the man that we love so much. Until Wentworth, he was still Jamie Fraser the boy.

Every man has the moment when he chooses to really live. 


 "The true life of the bowl began the moment it was dropped." 


                   For more of my Outlander Musings please join me on my Facebook page!

None of these pictures are mine....

Tincture, Tonics & Teas from Milady's Pantry and Stillroom ~ A Simple and Soothing Cough Syrup

#MiladysOutlanderHerbCampMedicinalSo I started out #WorldOutlanderDay with a treasured friend in my house who spent...

Posted by My Outlander Love Affair- Milady's Pantry and Stillroom on Monday, 1 June 2015