Dear Diary,

It was 4:00 am, and I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten to unplug my alarm clock!  I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep; so I looked at my boss’s email.  The subject line read: “A savvy woman knows when to say when!”

The email read:

“I’m closing shop effective immediately!  I’ll donate any and all leftover provisions to a food bank kitchen.  Please put your keys through the mail slot by the end of business tonight.  In addition, you’ll receive a check worth six months salary plus a generous bonus for being such dears and seeing this as a win-win situation!  I will now dedicate my time and attention to my new business venture: The Savvy Woman’s Business League Of North America with franchise opportunities available in: India; The United Kingdom and Australia.  I hope and trust you too will find something suitable to your respective passions.  While this is indeed short notice, you’ll understand the logic after you’ve read my forthcoming book, A Savvy Woman’s guide to Business; Education; Art and Love– The 10 essential reasons for staying the course or ‘turning on a dime.'” 

I was genuinely happy for my (former) boss and emailed her a heart felt “Thank you” note.  She wrote back and asked, “What will you do?”  I answered, “I don’t have any definite (long term) plans nonetheless my sister invited me to join her and her family on an around the world sailing adventure…  But, today I’m baking cookies!”

“Perfect Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan option, grain free, gluten free, dairy free)” recipe by Texanerin Baking
http://www.texanerin.com

For information regarding food banks try:

http://www.dccentralkitchen.org

http://www.lakitchen.org

 

Dear Diary,

I was exhausted after leaving the Mayor’s mansion.  Then I remembered I had to finish making a white chocolate raspberry tart for my boss’s niece’s baby shower.  The niece called the bakery (last night) and left a message detailing her perfect baby shower theme: “The Queen of Hearts from the Alice in Wonderland movie.”   I couldn’t comprehend her unusual (“Off with their heads!”) selection, but reasoned it was easy enough to make red and white desserts!

Since I was tired, I wanted to drive back to the bakery in silence.  But, “Cleopatra” wanted to talk nonstop about the Mayor’s wife’s pregnancy, and the situation with the Mayor’s wife’s babies daddies.  She was giddy over the whole thing.  I must admit, you never really know a person until you find out their real interests.  Nevertheless, I lost track of “Cleopatra’s” reproductive discourse after she said, “Did you know a pregnant female dog can have puppies fathered by more than one dog in one litter?”  I asked her why she said “female.”  She said, “I’m clarifying because with seahorses it’s the male that gets pregnant!!!”  While “Cleopatra” continued her biological discussion I drifted off to a recent email from my sister.  I figured I needed to respond…

After unloading the bakery’s van “Cleopatra” asked, “So what are you going to do?  Any big plans???”  I told her about the white chocolate raspberry tart for the baby shower.  She laughed and said, “No, silly.  Didn’t you get the email from our boss?”  I told her, “My phone drowned; so no, I didn’t get it.  What did it say?”  “Cleopatra” read it to me.  Then she said, “I’m going to finish college and go to Med school!”  I was floored.  My boss was closing the bakery!!!!!

“White-Chocolate Raspberry tart” recipe from the book, Pure Chocolate by Fran Bigelow
http://www.franschocolates.com

 

white-chocolate-raspberry-tart-by-akwelle-vallis

 

Dear Diary,

I needed help with the chili and cornbread delivery.  And, I knew “Cleopatra” would volunteer once she found out it was for the Mayor’s wife.  Unfortunately, “Cleopatra” talked nonstop as I drove to the Mayor’s mansion.  She said, “7 babies.  That’s nuts!!!  I’m gonna get pictures of her baby bump(s) and sell them!”  At one point, I stopped listening because I wasn’t interested in the process of artificial insemination or how often fertility clinics goof or the impossibility of finding out who the fathers of the fetuses are!  It was all too weird.  I didn’t want to think about it, and I definitely didn’t want to go inside the Mayor’s mansion.  But I did…

After security tasted the chili, and confiscated “Cleopatra’s” cell phone, we were allowed inside the Mayor’s wife’s private boudoir suite.  It was beautiful!  It looked like something from a magazine only nicer because there was this extra glow to it.  Then I remembered the Mayor’s wife’s book, 11 Ways To A Restful Night’s Sleep Through The Mystery And Mastery of Feng Shui.  Anyway, the Mayor’s wife and my boss were seated at a table laughing.

As I approached with the chili and cornbread, I noticed the Mayor’s wife was signing legal documents.  My boss had the giggles and said, “I just figured out my next seminar: ‘The 7 reasons why a savvy woman shouldn’t sign legal disclaimers at fertility clinics.'”  There was a brief pause then she said, “Or maybe it should be: ‘The 7 questions every savvy woman should ask right before artificial insemination.'”  Another pause.  Then she said, “I’ve got it.  My next seminar will be: ‘The 7 reasons why a case is dismissed on technicalities (by the FBI) every savvy woman should know.'”  The Mayor’s wife said, “I’ll drink to that!”  Then she “chug-a-lugged” from a champagne flute.  My boss looked at me and said, “Don’t worry, it’s lemonade!”

lemon-by-akwelle-vallis

Dear Diary,

My walk to the bakery usually takes less than 10 minutes.  But with this morning’s relentless pounding rain, it took an agonizing 20 minutes!  Along the way, I stepped in a doozy of a puddle; lost my footing and dropped my bag.  My bag was fine.  But my phone fell out, and landed in another deep puddle.  I probably looked crazy trying to resuscitate that thing.  I don’t know what possessed me to do CPR!

When I got to the bakery, I smelled fresh coffee and wondered why “Cleopatra” was in so early.  Then she came running out of the kitchen and said, “Guess what?”  I told her I was upset about my phone and couldn’t guess.  She said, “My power is out…  I slept here.  I’ve been watching TV and drinking coffee all night.  And, I ate all the doughnuts…”  I thought that was odd but it hardly seemed like breaking news.  Then she said, “Try again… Guess what???”  I said, “The Mayor’s wife is pregnant!”  She slapped her thighs and said, “Insane… That’s totally in-saaaaane!  I can’t believe you guessed it right!!!”  Then she added, “The Mayor’s wife has to be on total bedrest.  That means she’ll be in isolation for at least 12 to 14 months!”  I knew “Cleopatra’s” math was off but kept it to myself.  Then “Cleopatra” said, “The Mayor’s wife was artificially inseminated either before or after her trip to China.”

I didn’t know what to believe; so I busied myself in the kitchen while “Cleopatra” took a much needed nap.  Then the bakery’s phone rang.  It was my boss.  She said, “I’ve been texting you all morning.  It’s rude not to respond ASAP!  Or maybe you need to upgrade that flip phone?  Whip up enough chili and cornbread for a Roman legion.  The Mayor’s wife is pregnant with septuplets!  There was a crazy mix up at the fertility lab– they lost the Mayor’s specimen.  The Mayor’s wife is carrying fetuses fertilized by at least five anonymous male donors!”  What?  I was confused.  Nevertheless, I made the chili and cornbread with added vegetables for good health!

“Chile-Cheese ‘Corn’ Bread” recipe from the book “Everyday Grain-Free Baking” by Kelly Smith
http://www.thenourishinghome.com

 

Dear Diary,

Normally, I’m “up and at ’em” at least five minutes before I hear the classical music from my alarm clock radio.  But for some reason, I felt lazy today and lingered until 4:05 am.  Also, I couldn’t shake the dream I’d had.  It was about fish.  Since it was pouring rain outside, I reasoned maybe I was the fish.

With fish on my mind, I decided to have grilled sardines for breakfast.  I wanted something a little more extraordinary than grilled sardines with toast; so I flipped through Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book.  I took a chance and made her recipe for “Soft Gingerbread.”  The gingerbread and sardines combination was so awesome I opted not to read my horoscope– I knew I was in for a great day!  In fact, that gingerbread was so darn good, I knew my short lived love affair with French toast was over!  C’est la vie…

As I was leaving, I saw Marie Belle.  She looked awfully fat, especially around her tummy.  Nevertheless, I went back inside to get her the leftover sardines.  Then I remembered: if you dream about fish, it means someone you know or somebody known by someone you know is pregnant.  Good Lord!  More cats!!!

“Soft Gingerbread” recipe from “The Breakfast Book” by Marion Cunningham

For information regarding the spaying and neutering of pets:
http://www.humanesociety.org

rainy-day-by-akwelle-vallis

Dear Diary,

I love French toast!  I used to have the same “Them there eyes” feelings for pancakes but something changed between us, and we went our separate ways.  Before that, I was “Hopelessly devoted” to waffles.  And before that it was crepes…  Anyway, my French toast was exactly what I needed.

Since my boss’s mother was still deeply entranced by that crystal ball, I closed my eyes and smelled the remnants of caramelized maple syrup and melted butter on my hands.  I wondered why no one had made a maple syrup/melted butter (all natural) fragrance?  Needless to say, I was in a happy place.  Then I looked at the clock– it was getting late; so I cleaned the kitchen and took out the trash.

That’s when I saw my boss!  She was seated on the front porch steps eating pizza.  I wondered where she’d been.  Then my boss looked at me and said, “I went to see the Mayor’s wife– we’re old friends.  About 20 years ago, I helped finance one of her first pet projects.  She hadn’t met the Mayor yet– we were both volunteering in Africa.”  I thought about running inside to get my phone…  Then my boss started crying!  I hadn’t seen that side of her, and figured the FBI didn’t need to see it either.  After a few moments of silence, I asked,  “Who made the pizza?”  She steadied herself and said, “The Mayor’s wife makes a stunningly good pepperoni pizza with a chickpea flour crust!  I want you to make this tomorrow at the bakery…  The proceeds will go to the Mayor’s wife’s legal defense fund.  Of course, I’ll deduct 20% for administrative costs.”  My boss thanked me for spending time with her mother.  Then she said, “Go home and feed your cats!”

“Chickpea Crust Pizza” recipe by Keri Glassman
http://www.foodnetwork.com

 

Dear Diary,

My boss greeted me with, “Shhhh…  Don’t speak, mother is in a trance state.  Your talking could disrupt her connection.”  I nodded my head.  Then my boss ushered me to the seat directly across from her mother.  I didn’t want to put my phone on the table; so I placed my bag (with my phone in it) on the arm of my chair.  Then I stared at my boss.  I was annoyed and wanted to ask her why she wasn’t at the bakery today and what she thought about the Mayor’s wife’s arrest?  But my boss kept looking at her shoes.  Then I looked at her mother.  She seemed super focused on that crystal ball.  Then I stared at the crystal ball.  It looked old.  Then I wondered if it came from my boss’s mother’s family?

Then my boss whispered, “Be a dear and stay with mother while I run an errand or two.”  My boss always “runs an errand or two” when I visit her mother.  I don’t mind because I actually like her mother.  Most of the time, we end up doing household chores like laundry or ironing.  She has the best washing machine– it’s a Speed Queen!  On one of my visits, we polished the silver and she told me about her favorite husband, Harold (not my boss’s father).

Anyway, after my boss left; I turned my phone off.  I figured the FBI didn’t need to know about the crystal ball or its possible revelations.  Then my stomach growled.  I was thinking about bread, and what I could make when my boss’s mother said, “I see you talking to a grey haired man.  He’s very tall.”  There was a brief pause, then she said, “I see you making French toast…”

“French toast” made with “Gluten Free Paleo Sandwich Bread”  Bread recipe by Julia Mueller
http://www.theroastedroot.net

Speed Queen washing machine information:
http://www.speedqueen.com