Solar Eclipse 2017

On August 21, a total solar eclipse will cut through the entire continental United States. It’s going to be awesome!  This is the first total solar eclipse since 1979. At just 70 miles wide, the path of the totality will be quite narrow. For the rest of the country, beyond this slim trajectory, anywhere from 20 to 99 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon. The last time a total solar eclipse swept the whole width of the U.S. was in 1918, or nearly 100 years ago. The next one (scheduled) to traverse the entire U.S. continent should be around 2045.

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This means that my husband and I are traveling to see one of our sons in Clarksville, TN – which is one of the prime locations in the mid-west to view the Eclipse.  We are driving nine hours to see a total of about 2-1/2 minutes of splendor.  Even if the entire eclipse only lasts 2-1/2 minutes, it will be dark for a couple of hours, and it will be a minimum of eight years before we have another one.  I can hardly wait!

I find it extremely interesting that this is really only an eclipse for the U.S.  Also interesting that the solar eclipse is sandwiched between two lunar eclipses.  I also find it extremely interesting that my boss seems oblivious to it.  He’s a scientist (an MD) – but he’s more worried about the bottom line at the office.  I kid you not, six out of eight providers, myself included, have called off to watch this spectacular celestial event, but he plans on running the clinic “business as usual”.  I have the feeling he is going to have a very bad day, one way or another.  Either the whole town will come in to the clinic, and he will have to manage mostly on his own, or, no one will come in, because they will all be off watching the eclipse.  Either way, he is not going to be happy.

I, for one, have decided not to let spectacular things like this “eclipse” my life.  Go get your fancy sunglasses and relish the experience along with me.  You only live once.

My So-called Charmed Life

I used to think I had a Charmed Life.  Actually, I’m pretty sure I still do.  I have a good job, a loving husband of 35+ years, and all my children are healthy.  Things seem to go my way – I don’t seem to have trouble getting a job, we have a nice house, and the only medication I need to take is for a sluggish thyroid.   Life is good.

However, lately, I feel like I’m having problems with my so-called charmed life.  I have this kid, see, who doesn’t look at the world through the same rose-colored glasses that I do.  My father-in-law once told me that “you are only as happy as your unhappiest child”.  How prophetic!  Well this particular child of mine isn’t happy.  Things aren’t going her way. So now I am almost as upset as she is, but for an entirely different reason. 

I don’t know how to tell her that “life isn’t fair” and still come out alive.  She is of the opinion that capitalism is a corrupt system, and that all her troubles stem from this.  She thinks that everyone should get the same amount of money, no matter what kind of job they do.  It doesn’t matter to her that some people are lazy and don’t really work at their jobs, or that other people have gone to school or practiced their craft for years, to get where they are, she wants a redistribution of other people’s money

I’m of the opinion that a person “reaps what he sows”, and that you make your own fortune.  When the three little piggies were building their houses, each of them made their own choice, two of them unfortunately, chose poorly.   Having a bad attitude won’t get you ahead, in fact, studies have shown that success does not beget happiness, but rather happiness begets success. Shawn Achor, is a bestselling author of Before Happiness (2013) and The Happiness Advantage (2010).  He has become one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. To quote him, “if you want to be successful, first you have to be happy”.  This applies to success in all areas of our life, from academic & athletic performance, to job or career performance.

So don’t blame me for your troubles, honey.  Look within.  Find your happy.  Perhaps you will have better success in your career aspirations, financial aspirations and general life goals if you do.  Rose colored glasses come cheap.  Go get some.

A Poor Comparison


I have a pretty bad habit of comparing myself to others.  Wish I didn’t, but I do, so there it is. So at work there is a young lady who found herself unexpectedly pregnant – family members were pressuring her to hurry up and get married, “before the baby comes”!  Finances being tight, she was concerned about spending money on a wedding when she had a new life to plan and provide for. So I offered to make her wedding cake.  I have made several wedding cakes in the past, but I am rusty, to say the least.

Off to Pinterest again for inspiration!!  We found the cake she liked (after browsing through many, many cakes), and I got to preparing.  So, finally the day drew near, and I got to work.  I had made several chocolate seashells, starfish and seahorses, and even gotten the plumeria done.  Now to the “easy part”, right? Cook and cover, I used to say.  But I have a full time job during the day. . .what have I gotten myself in to?

Baking went ok. Filling went ok ( I thought). And Saturday morning came and it was time to “cover” the cakes in frosting.  Truly, I think the cake would have fared better if they had just gotten married at my house, but, no, I had to transport it, in my car, an hour away.  Did you know that icing can shift on a warm day? And a cake with refrigerated filling is guaranteed to shift.  Especially if you stack the cakes.  But I was prepared!  I had been on! I had watched Nicholas Lodge and done due diligence! Are the laws of physics actually all that important, today?

Apparently so. We survived the trip. Somewhat askew, but we survived, and thank the heavens, it wasn’t raining when we arrived.  I managed to fake it by strategically placing the white chocolate seashells, and the flowers over the leaking strawberry filling, but you could tell. I am a rank amateur! What was I thinking, volunteering to do a wedding cake? Poor unsuspecting bride.  It is a good thing she was looking at her new husband and not too closely at the botched attempt.  I am afraid that for today, I don’t actually measure up too well.  See for yourself. The first picture (taken outside) is obviously the one I attempted to copy. (To be fair, the original one is obviously covered with fondant, and the one I did was simply buttercream.)  The second one (with the forks on the table) alas! is mine.


So what have we learned here? I can do a fairly good job at copying a professionals cake.  The flowers and chocolate seashells and starfish turned out quite nice. But, do not put too much filling in between the layers, and make sure you have a good border of frosting around the edge to keep it in, and don’t transport stacked cakes stacked. Stack them at the reception site. Oh yeah. And now I remember why I prefer working with fondant over buttercream.  The smooth surface just can’t be beat.  I’ll try and remember all this next time, because there will be a next time.  I’m getting back in the game.  Next up, maybe cake pops?