There are times in life when things happen that are beyond our control. Because of this, the ABC Sisters  are going to Delay posting our “D” activities and include them with next month’s Deeds.

In the meantime, why not try some “D” outings or projects of your own and Describe them in your comments!

Laura and Barbara

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1 point – Cooking Something New – (Barbara) – CHINESE DUMPLINGS

How could I not take advantage of access to someone who can teach me how to make my own Chinese Dumplings? A Meetup group of women met at the home of our teacher, Leigh, who is a foodie and loves cooking with exotic spices and making international food. She was a great teacher, showing us how to create our dumplings and giving tips along the way. As a devotee of the show, Next Food Network Star, I know how important those tips are when doing a food demo so kudos to Leigh. Although my dumplings may not have looked perfect, they tasted pretty darn good for a first effort. It remains to be seen whether I’ll actually do them on my own but the experience was a lot of fun.





1 point – Cooking with a “C” ingredient CARROT MUFFINS

We really enjoy baked goods made with carrots but have never tried our hand at it before. Since muffins are a special temptation for both of us (Barbara loves the muffin top and Laura the whole thing), we thought we’d attempt a Glazed Carrot Muffin recipe. We just love when recipes say that prep time is 20 minutes. Hah! This one was very time consuming but we plugged on and came up with these muffins. Were they worth the mess and fuss? Probably not but not terrible considering we were doing a low fat recipe. Maybe for “D” month we’ll attempt something more Delicious.

1 point – Barbara – LEARNING CENTER – Cakewalk

Ever wonder why something you think is pitifully easy is called a “cakewalk”? I did so I did some research into it and was appalled to learn that it had an origin in racism. Cakewalk originated in the South of the 19th century. It was a dance where slaves were invited to dress up and put on airs of the white aristocracy. The couple who did the best imitation won a cake, baked I would guess by another slave. Even though the cakewalk was invented to mock the aristocracy, they were allowed to do that and in doing so, the plantation owner was establishing his authority even more strongly. Even worse, it developed into a minstrel show wherein white actors in blackface made fun of the efforts of the slaves to mock them. Now the term means something so easy you can just walk and get rewarded.

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1 point – “C “Author Rebekah CRANE

For most teenagers, life isn’t as simple as one would hope. Complex problems exist everywhere – which is why Esther is obsessed with math. After all, with math, every problem has a solution, whereas family, friends and love often involve situations that are harder to resolve. The Infinite Pieces of Us by Rebekah CRANE is a wonderful Young Adult novel that has it all : fascinating and loveable characters, humor, coming-of-age plot and a believable journey of self-discovery. Plus, woven into the narrative are creative math problems (“if souls really do travel in groups, but one is subtracted, is she lost forever?) and silly but charming math riddles (“You know what’s odd, Moss? What? Every other number.”).  A quick and delightful read, we both loved this book.

2 points – “C” place – CLEBURNE

From the time she was in 7th grade, Gone With The Wind was Barbara’s favorite book so when we discovered that the city of Cleburne, Texas had a museum named Gone With The Wind Remembered, it was a no-brainer. We envisioned one large room with some scattered memorabilia. Boy, did we underestimate it. Founded by Vicky Lynn Rogers, who started her collection when she was 4 years old, the museum houses around 600 (!) dolls and a huge collection of memorabilia on just about every character in the book, plus Civil War Artifacts. There is a room with a video of interviews with the people involved in the making of the movie, as well as a small theatre where you can sit and watch some of the film. The museum doesn’t even house all of her collection; she has nearly 850 dolls and is still collecting. So the next time your husband or roommate tells you that you have too many shoes, just say “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

2 points – “C” restaurants/dishes

Two tacos and a Cristo waffle – sounds like it could be a country western song but it was our culinary experience for C month. Leading the way was Crush Taco in Frisco – a fabulous place for an elevated taco experience opened by the chef of two fine restaurants in Dallas: Capital Grille and Perry’s Steakhouse. We had cornflake crusted shrimp tacos and fried chicken elotes style tacos. If you’re in the area you’ve got to try them. Next up was the Legacy Hall food court in Frisco where we tried a Cuban taco at Velvet Taco (just average) and a Cristo waffle (Monte Cristo between two waffles in place of bread) at Pressed Waffle. The Cristo was delicious and worthy of their Shark Tank backing.

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2 points – Activity – CLUE Murder Mystery

A favorite game in our family, both growing up and raising our own children, was CLUE. So it made perfect sense for us to register for the Dallas Museum of Art Murder Mystery. Who did it, Where and With What?

We expected a turnout of about 30 people but close to 200 people showed up! The mystery took us to all 4 levels of the museum, each of which revealed some suspects and possible murder weapons and one room with the outline of a body. Had we not overthought the obvious (since the body was riddled with stab wounds, surely it would be too obvious to say the weapon was a dagger, right?…WRONG!), , we would have been one of the many winners.

2 points – Movie Theme CHOICES

Although we do look at movie reviews, we’ve always felt that if the subject sounded interesting to us we could easily ignore the review and watch it, as many good movies could be missed if one chose solely based on its rating. We’ve definitely been vindicated with the movie The Words, starring Dennis Quaid, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons and Zoe Saldana. It’s a movie about living with your Choices and how they affect the rest of your life. Loosely based on a real life incident of Ernest Hemingway (his first wife, Hadley, packed all the pages he wrote prior to 1922 in a briefcase and forgot it on a train), it’s the story of a young, unsuccessful writer (Cooper) who finds a briefcase in an antique store and discovers a manuscript in it. There is nothing to indicate the owner of the briefcase or the author of the manuscript. After much deliberation, the writer decides to retype it and pass it off as his own. The repercussions of this choice, along with others made after the true author reveals himself, is the heart of the movie. It made us think of what we would do, how bad actually was his initial choice, etc. – and any movie that makes us think and discuss after we’re done watching is worth it. We both felt the reviewers were definitely too harsh on this film.

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2 points –  Activity – CHRISTIAN Dior COUTURE COLLECTION

You couldn’t grow up in the 20th Century without having heard of Christian Dior – the ultimate symbol of Parisian haute couture. Although we are not high fashion minded, we were interested in seeing his collection first hand. Our impressions:

  • The collection was beautifully displayed. Our first step into the area was very striking.
  • We were surprised to learn that Dior only designed from 1947-1957, the year of his unexpected death, and that the baton was then passed to Yves St. Laurent who had been his assistant. Subsequently the “Dior” collection was run by various other designers, which explains the difference in looks over the years.
  • Dior was one of the first to offer coordinating shoes, hats, makeup and jewelry.
  • We saw several dresses we would love to own. Barbara has a birthday coming up in November, hint hint!
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2 Points – New restaurant: BENEDICTS

We are always excited about breakfast, with eggs benedict dishes being particularly appealing. So Benedict’s Restaurant seemed like a natural choice for us. While their menu is especially descriptive and tempting (kudos to their Marketing person), sadly the dishes didn’t quite live up to their billing. For example, Baconberry Benedict sounded different and yummy, but tasted like ordinary eggs benedict to Barbara. And the Brooklyn Benedict did nothing to remind Laura of growing up with New York pastrami and potato pancakes. We’re not saying it was a bad restaurant; it just set our hopes up a bit too high.

2 pointsNew restaurant: BULLA GASTROBAR

Laura: While Barbara was off in England, I decided to visit Spain. Well, not quite. But a friend and I did go to Bulla Gastrobar – a fairly new addition to our local restaurant scene and fashioned after famous gastrobars in Spain. (What’s a gastrobar? It’s a combination of a bar and gastronomy, the study of the relationship between culture and food.) I had Lentil Soup with Chorizo to start – and I could have ended there. It was filling and outstanding. The flavors and freshness really hit all the right chords and I was singing its praises to anyone who’d listen. I also had the salmon with baby spinach, chickpeas and lemon cream. It was good but in my opinion took a back seat to the soup. Tasty food, friendly and courteous wait staff and calming atmosphere – I’ll be back!

2 points – BOOKISH TV themes.

If you love books like we do, then you can understand why the thought of checking out TV series that deal with books would be a fun activity. We chose to review three. First up was Being Erica, a Canadian show about Erica Strange, who has an editorial job in publishing. The premise is that she is sent back in time by her therapist to fix decisions in the past that she regrets. The first episode was enjoyable: likeable characters, quotes throughout that added a bit of pizazz, a “life lesson” and curiosity as to what regrets she will tackle next. Of course, we all know from other shows and movies that when you go back in time to change events, one change will trigger other changes and you could wind up affecting major world events. However, her therapist points out that to some degree her life is insignificant so it’s highly unlikely that her “fixes” will alter the course of history. The second show was You, about a stalker who works in a book store and his obsession with a customer. But his stalking was a bit too creepy to get us hooked. Watched two episodes and that was about all we could take. The third and last show was Black Books, a British sitcom about a grumpy owner of a small bookshop who hates customers and would rather they all leave him alone. Surprisingly, it’s a critical success and has a devoted fan base, but we could barely get through the first episode. The canned laughter was horrible – too loud, too often and too inappropriate. So annoying that it ruined any chance that we might have found some parts amusing.


Barbara – BRITISH-ORIGINATED EXPRESSIONS. On my trip to Britain I learned the origin of several expressions, all of which made me happy that I wasn’t born in Britain during the Middle Ages!

Frog in your throat – if someone had a sore throat it was prescribed that they hold a frog and let it spit into their throat to soothe it.

Rule of thumb – a husband could beat his wife but the thing he beat her with could be no wider than his thumb

Saved by the bell – when you got buried, just in case you were still alive, they attached a string to your finger, which was attached to a bell, so if you woke and found yourself in a coffin you could ring the bell and hope someone heard it.

Laura – The BOOGEYMAN. It’s so interesting to me that almost every country has some form of the Boogeyman  – a monster or mystical creature that is used to scare children into behaving as the adults in charge deem proper. The name may change (Sack Man, El Coco, Babau, Butzemann, Div, Babaroga, etc.) and the threat (e.g., being kidnapped or eaten) may vary, but it would be hard to find a child who has not heard of this scary beast. In most cases, it’s the parents who are to blame – telling their child that if they don’t do something (put away your toys, stop fighting, go to sleep), the Boogeyman might come and take them away. Although this threat takes the pressure off the parents as the “bad guys,” it’s really laying the groundwork of mistrust and not instilling good habits. Plus, it just doesn’t seem right to prey on the vulnerability of children. Although I don’t remember being threatened with the Boogeyman as a child, I do remember that the vision of such a creature was in my head. There was a movie that Barbara and I both watched as kids that had a monster/Boogeyman figure sail off unharmed at the end of the movie and we both felt in our hearts that the Boogeyman was sailing towards our house now and we better take cover! To wish that no one would use the Boogeyman as a scare tactic to change behavior may be honorable, but I’m afraid (not literally) that will never happen since fear is still one of the most effective motivators out there.

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2 points: Batsford Botanical Gardens

Barbara: I’ve been to botanical gardens before but not like these. You know there must be a higher being when you sit in a place like this and just look at what exists in nature. My favorite was the handkerchief tree, which had white leaves that hung down like hankies.

2 pointsBrahms concert in St. James Church.

Barbara: Lucked out. There was a chamber music festival in Chipping Campden so we got to hear a lovely viola and piano duet of music by Brahms. A great end to a breathtaking day.


While Barbara is bustling about the English countryside, Laura has been busy with more sedate B activities.

1 point: movie theme: BULLYING

Laura: A Girl Like Her takes a hard look at a suicide attempt and the bullying that led to it. The film plays out as a faux documentary about two girls, Jessica (the victim) and Avery (the bully). You would have to be completely clueless if you didn’t have somewhat of an understanding of how prevalent bullying among teenagers has become and how unbearable the pain is to the one being bullied. This film took a different approach in that it also focused on the viewpoint of the bully as well as the victim. Two things stood out for me. First was how Jessica’s parents, while shown as caring, kind people who had a loving relationship with their daughter, apparently had no idea their daughter was suffering. It is both sad and frightening that kids go to such lengths to hide things from the ones who love them and their parents don’t always see past the facade. Second, the film went to great lengths to show us how the bully wouldn’t be a bully unless she too were also a victim. “Hurt people hurt people.” The ending focused on Avery finally admitting what she had done and showing remorse, while the interviewer championed Avery for coming clean and embracing her feelings. However, this scene rang false. As Justin Chang, film critic for Variety, stated so aptly: “For a movie that’s trying to teach the teenagers of America that their actions can have tragic repercussions, there’s something borderline irresponsible about the idea that a simple show of remorse is all it takes to make everything OK.”

1 point: “B” Author: Jonathan BLOOM

Laura: With my recent refocus on reducing the amount of food waste happening in my kitchen, I benefited by reading American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and what we can do about it) by Jonathan Bloom. Although there was a lot of repetition in this book, it was full of eye-opening information. Most of what Bloom wrote about was the nation’s food system as a whole, but he did offer some concrete suggestions on reducing the waste that’s going on in your home. The chapter, “Home Is Where the Waste Is” was worth the time invested to read it and has made me even more committed to this cause. In fact, instead of having an “eat from your pantry” night, I decided it’s better to have an “eat from your refrigerator night.” That can of beans is doing fine sitting on the third shelf for another few weeks (or months), but that two-day old rice isn’t getting any fresher.


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