To forestall the inevitable trolling (and boy, have I experienced a lot of that!) I must state that I unequivocally refuse to exploit my cat. Yes, I did turn down two offers for Spock to endorse cat products, and no, I am not crazy. I have always considered people who would exploit their kids or their pets for personal monetary gain to be several shades of despicable. That said, now the furor has died down, I now have a community of about 7700 followers who are very interested in the pictures I post, and the messages I’m giving. I have to do something with this.

Ever wonder what it’s like for those involved when you see something Trending and Viral? Last week, I was a happy retired lady, lunching with friends, painting for fun, and my biggest worry was the declining health of my mother in law. Then the article in our local weekly newspaper ran. My life changed instantly. And not for the better.

Cue the scream.

It all started out as a bit of a lark. Sure – run a fun fluff piece in the weekly newspaper. Agree to a local late night news story as a favor for a friend?

It’s been a challenging year. I’ve been visible. Then I wasn’t. Then I was again. I felt like the Cheshire Cat at times.
It was a year of Firsts, Lasts, and Never Agains. Lots of stuff has happened, and I’m still trying to process it all. Other than the year our son was born, I can’t remember any time that had this kind of upheaval. I hope it’s an anomaly, and not a new normal.

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate the traditional pumpkin pie that always appears on Thanksgiving. About 30 years ago, when I started to really experiment with cooking, I realized it was the consistency of pumpkin pie that bothered me, not just the taste. I then made it my mission to find something that was unusual and then adapt it from there. This particular recipe is the final result – it combines toasted pecans and rum for a rich, nutty flavor, and with heavy cream instead of the traditional evaporated milk, it has a nice consistency that is fluffier than other pies. The ginger adds a bit of interest, and cuts the squashy taste of the pumpkin. Our problem was solved. Deliciously.

I’ve seen some of the most beautiful sights in the world on my travels, and have captured many in photographs. There were times when I was looking at the riot of color at the Floating Market in Bangkok, the cherry blossoms in Japan, or the prospect from the Great Wall of China, and I wished I could capture that in paint. Not “would”, but “could”. Trying to see if I had the ability to do that one day was what ultimately led me to take a drawing class. What kept me from signing up earlier was the certainty I would have to draw a human at some point. Murphy’s Law.