To be or not to be….

The Newsletter Editor

flagpole in HOA
Flagpole at the entrance to our neighborhood.

Our community has a newsletter. In each issue it features an article about the latest homeowner’s association meeting, updates on city utility news like trash days are changing or when bulk pick up is scheduled. There’s always a recipe, an article about wildlife or plants and a welcome to new neighbors. It’s interesting and done by a husband and wife. ‘

For the past six months they’ve asked for a volunteer to take over the newsletter. The couple in charge have done it for more than ten years, since its inception. They are done. This current newsletter stated that if nobody volunteers — then the newsletter is over.

I thought, do I want to do this? Should I do this? I’m not a newbie to newsletters. My first job in PR, I wrote at least seven newsletters a month for various clients including a city, a realtor, a hotel and three or four for a medical center (staff, physicians, research, and a couple medical specialties.) After that job, I worked for a developer and I was in charge of newsletters for several country club developments for the members. That was before “desk top publishing.” I had to type my copy, drive it to a typesetter. I would work on a layout with a pencil on paper! I took numerous trips by car to the printer with corrections to the typesetting and real live photographs. Once I had a “blueline” I was relieved.

In my free time, I did the newsletter for the Desert Advertising Club. I was a board member and volunteered my time. While raising kids, I volunteered to do newsletters for their swim team and a charitable organization I was in.

I know I can do this newsletter, it’s in my “wheel house,” but do I want to?

I thought yes and no. The pros are it’s quarterly. Not monthly. And — this is the biggie — I moved less than a year ago and I don’t know anyone except for the realtor up the street who sold us our house and an occasional hello to next door neighbor Brad. The newsletter might help me be less isolated and more engaged in my new surroundings.

Our neighborhood has five clubs, book club, coffee club, wine club, etc. But they haven’t met because of COVID. They were supposed to start up this month, but they are holding off until 2022.

The downsides — do I want to do the newsletter? Do I want to have a deadline? Do I want to be more active in the community or do I like my quiet life more?

I texted the kids, talked it over with hubby. They all think I should do it. My kids especially think I should because they know I’m happy when I’m working in my field — even if I whine about it.

I decided to sleep on it. Two days later, I decided YES. I called the number in the newsletter of the current husband and wife editors. I got the “disconnected and no longer in service” message.

I checked the neighborhood directory and noticed there was a typo on the phone number. I dialed the correct number and once again — “disconnected and no longer in service.”

I looked up their cell phone and it went straight to voice mail. I left a message and emailed them.

That was Friday. It’s Sunday and I haven’t received a call back or an email.

So to be or not to be — Newsletter Editor? We’ll wait and see.

What are your thoughts about volunteering? Do you think it benefits the people volunteering as well as those who receive service? What do you think of people volunteering because of their own agenda or motives? Can you think of any examples?

To juice or blend?

I talked to one of my friends who is a former nutritionist from Loma Linda hospital about plant-based diets. She said she and her husband decided to try it and one of the helpful things she found is juicing. It’s interesting that they are going mainly plant-based because her husband is a big hunter and their freezer (and mine) are stocked with venison and other game. He also free dives for lobster and fish. (Somehow when they’ve given me lobster, it never makes it to the freezer!)

I’m not 100% plant-based. I’m hypoglycemic and my body craves protein — in the form of chicken, beef and fish. But I’m trying to cut down on meat, so I thought juicing would be a good way to get more fruits and vegetables into my body.

Then my son said juicing removes fiber. He recommended blending. I googled the pros and cons of each and decided to try a blender, too. After a little bit more research I settled on a Ninja blender.

Ninja blender for smoothies.
My Ninja.

After my morning walks, I am now making fruit smoothies. I haven’t gotten into the green drinks — yet.

Here’s the recipe I threw together for a start. It’s delicious! Normally I don’t measure, but my husband is using an app to track calories so he asked me to.

1/2 cup almond milk

1/4 cup cran raspberry juice

1/4 cup Vanilla yogurt

1 banana

1/2 cup frozen peaches

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

BLEND!

It is so refreshing but not filling enough for me for breakfast. So, it’s more a pre-breakfast snack.

I almost forgot to take a picture of the finished product, sorry for the half full pic.

peach strawberry smoothie
Peach strawberry banana smoothie.


Do you prefer blending or juicing? Or neither? If you do like smoothies, can you suggest some recipes or your favorite drinks to try? What is your favorite breakfast?

A little home cooking

sausager and peppers in a pan
Sausage and peppers

Sausage and peppers is one of my go to recipes. I’ll make it every few weeks in a big batch that we can heat up and enjoy for several days. I learned how to cook sausage and peppers from a friend who came from large Italian family in upstate New York. It wasn’t something my mom ever cooked when I was growing up.

I start with sweet Italian sausage and put it in a roasting pan with water at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Then I turn over the sausage and add more water if necessary and cook for an additional 20 minutes. The water begins deep enough to cover the sausages halfway.

Sausages in a roasting pan with water.
This is what the sausage looks like when it’s all done.

While I’m waiting for the sausages to cook, I prep my peppers and onions. I usually use three peppers and one onion. I heat the olive oil with garlic, cumin and oregano. I learned in a cooking class years ago that it’s best to heat the spices in the oil to get more robust flavors. Then I saute the onions until they’re transparent.

onions and peppers being sauteed.
The onions are done and I move on to saute the peppers.

The final step is slicing the sausages into bite sized pieces and throwing it all together in the pan to sear the sausage and meld all the delicious flavors. When I prep the veggies, I also start rice in my rice cooker

What are some of your go to meals? Did you learn your recipes from your mom, cookbooks or from friends? Another signature dish of mine is oxtail soup, which my mom taught me and I discovered in one of my Great Grandmother Nellie’s cookbooks

I’m bringing her cookbooks back to life. I need you to subscribe to my blog by email for updates of this project.