Saturday, November 29, 2008

The last of the turkey!

Nov. 29 2008 It's a sparkling, frosty morning up here in the north eastern corner of Arizona at about 7,400 ft. elevation. Bright blue sky which gives hope for a clear sky tonight and an opportunity to see the conjunction of Saturn and Venus with the new moon...will be a spectacular sight.
House guest numbers are dwindling along with the many more variations on turkey left-overs are there? We made a mammoth BOF (bottom of fridge) soup last night using up all the left-over vegetables. One thing about being 40 miles round trip to a store is that it brings out the 'make-do' gene in all of us - necessity certainly is the mother of invention in this kitchen.
With three dogs eager to get out and run , a major walk through the woods is planned for the next hour or so and then Chris and Jim are loading their wagon train and heading back to Tucson. I'll be left with 11 and 7 year old grandsons and I think their favorite uncle is also staying on until tomorrow.
Meanwhile, thanks to the wonders of technology (no radio or TV up here but I do have wireless internet) , Genny and I have been back and forth finalizing the Dec. issue of Connections ready for a midnight roll over on Sunday. It's the first issue of our second year and we are excited by the quality and breadth of authors we continue to attract. Happy New Connections Year and a massive thank you to Genny who could not be a better partner. Genny, your efficiency, common sense and all round good humor continue to warm my heart. To Heidi and Jeffrey Peltier of Peltier Effects...we could not be happier that you are on the team - continue tickling those spiders!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Morn!

Far too many dogs and family and friends in sufficient number, nestled into the cabin on a rainy morning....snow dusting the mountains across the valley suggest (and boys are cheering on this thought) that it might turn to deeper snow. Canada geese are gathering on the pond and small boys are trying to entice adults into their version of Monopoly ...involves lots of ribald 7 and 11 year old male humor. Chris just introduced us to omelet in a bag for breakfast that was a great success. One mini almost disaster, the turkey that Chris and Jim brought up turned out to be a partial bird - breast only, in the pioneering spirit that cabin life nurtures, it's now in the smoker out on the deck. Our other house guests are planning on cooking the complete turkey they brought on a rotisserie. I'm in charge of vegetables and Lisa, as always, is the dessert queen. She had no knowledge of my earlier post on the subject of the green bean and crispy onion dish and arrived yesterday announcing, "I'm making the Lutheran potluck green bean casserole"! Apparently this is an upscale version using fresh beans and the recipe is sourced from Trader Joe's. So far nobody has volunteered the red, white and green jello salad.
It's really not a secret that our talented logo designer is my son Benjamin (and Genny's talented daughter Rachel is the source of our other graphics) now living with his family in Ethiopia. This morning began on a high note when we were able to use SKYPE to connect with them in Addis Ababa as they were getting ready to join people from the US Embassy for a "real" Thanksgiving dinner.

Late yesterday afternoon I marshaled the troops for tamale making and we had a great time and superb crew. 5 lbs of masa yielded around 70 tamales. Some are to be steamed for lunch today and the rest bagged, tagged and frozen....I hope that when they eventually make it to table the recipients will have some sense of the fun and love that went into making them.

The great glove hunt has begun as the kids are determined to get outside and look for any possible hint of snow. I'm holing up to do some editing for the December issue of Wishing all of you who stumble across this post a joyous day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Home stretch

Ever since my first experience of a Thanksgiving Dinner, 1964 just six weeks after I got off the boat, I've been in love with this holiday. My first stop in the country was Newport, RI and on the boat over I met a nurse who lived in Providence. She invited me to join her family at Thanksgiving. They had a big, rambling house on a tree lined street, it was crisp, frosty day,the house was full of cousins, grandmothers, distant relatives and me, a total stranger. I don't think I ever felt more welcome anyplace in my life.
I was introduced to that strangest of strange TG accompaniments - the cranberry jello that had a green layer and a white layer (cream cheese maybe?), a sweet potato souffle topped with marshmallows and, of course, pumpkin pie. Over the years, with in-laws in the Midwest, I was treated to many versions of Thanksgiving favorites and still, today, my favorite from that era is the green beans in cream of mushroom soup topped with crispy onion rings ...all coming from cans!
More than anything, I love the spirit of sharing and welcome that comes with Thanksgiving. I didn't host my own Thanksgiving until 1981 when we moved to Tucson and that day it was so warm that we set tables out on the patio for dinner. Subsequent Tucson thanksgivings have been outdoors. This year we'll be at the cabin up north and in the spirit of this holiday, will be joined by new and old friends and family to share memories and good food.
Armed with stacks of cookbooks and magazines , we've jointly created a balanced menu that includes old favorites (roasted root vegetables) and new takes on everything from Brussels sprouts (slivered, steamed and tossed with nutmeg and brown butter) to trifle. The children will have their tasks, a sought after one being to create turkey rolls (bread rolls twisted and shaped like very abstract turkeys...I think the idea came from a long-ago Sunset magazine recipe), playing with the dough is cathartic for all ages. Given that we'll be up in the mountains there will be a log fire burning and, according to the forecast, a touch of snow. No matter what the weather, it will be warm with friendship and family. What has changed is the incorporation of a more global approach to food and recipes,and the inclusion of Southwest influences -
check out Tamalada party . I'll post the details in our Tucson pages.
Thank you all for the de-stressing hints you've sent in...there's room for more.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Year To Celebrate

I can not believe it has been one year already that we have been "live" with Gerry and I are about to put the 12th issue to rest and bring in the new year Celebrating all of the wonderful choices we have made along the way. Alot of reflecting has been going on. What is working, what isn't, what do you ,our readers, like and what would you like to see in the future.

We have been so fortunate with the authors that have come on board believing in our mission to support you in every way we can. From the beginning Lorie Marrero, from has contributed dynamite articles for us. Thank you Lorie, we look forward to every month's words of wisdom from you. We were blessed to have Dr. Jackie Black with us for almost a full year. Dr. Rosie Kuhn has been adding and will continue to add her joy in our relationship section. Stephanie Chadwick, our marketing guru from the state of Washington, has been writing for us and even during these trying economic times is able to put pen to paper with great positive words for our members to walk through difficult times. Laurie Mandato, our new fashion expert, has been a huge hit right out of the gate. Dr. Julie Garden-Robinson, an Associate Professor and Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND, is writing articles that will hit home for all of you and help you look at how and what you are putting in your body. We have had fun travel articles from Bridgette Aflalo-Calderon. These just represent our authors outside of Arizona that contribute to our magazine on a regular basis. Heidi Peltier from Austin Texas wrote a heart stopper about the Tooth Fairy, one I will not soon forget. Megan Sanatori in Madison, Wisconsin wrote about her passion with saving the abused animals. So many to name.

Then I travel to the local authors and there are many talented people that have helped make Connections for Women what it is. I always knew that Tucson was special but am still amazed at how many wonderfully talented, giving people continue to present themselves. A very special thank you to Our "Attorney at Love" Jim Duzak for his wonderful words of wisdom to all our women and men each month in our relationship section. Jim's articles have been and I am sure will continue to be a huge hit with our readers. Anne Perry, you have delighted our readers with your wit and to the point life lessons. We look forward to your continued pen. Thank you Sylvia Edwards, Bonnie Marson, Lisa Abrams and Wools Lavelle for continuing to find time to put you thoughts to paper for our members. We and they love you. Northern Trust Bank and Smith and Barney have been very supportive in continuing to provide us articles that help you, our readers, navigate through the financial world. Thank you. There have been so very many more authors that have contributed this last year. We are very excited about our new regular contributing authors from Tucson. Jere' Webb, our financial planner has the knack for putting it simply to help demsytify what our financial markets are doing and what we can do about it. We look forward to your contibution! Joanna Westcott is also helping you, our readers, move forward with your money, your retirement. Thank you. Carie Bauman has a delightful twist on the real estate market helping all of us focus on what we have! Chef Mary Ann Brody has already given great stress relieving tips for holiday preparation. We can not wait for the next article to come around. Her journey to her passion will be quite a tory some day. More new authors to come.....

Behind the scenes there is always something, someone that stands out as an incredible source of support in getting the issue live and working out all of the little bugs each month as well as getting us out there. Hands down Gerry and I are the luckiest people on the planet to have PeltierEffects as our SEO (Search Engine Optimizers). Jeffrey and Heidi, thank you for becoming a part of Connections for Women.

When I sat down to write this I had not intended it to go in this direction but what better way to move forward than to look at what you are so grateful for! Gerry and I want to thank all of our immediate family of Connections for Women for their contributions. Thank you to all of our members and readers for making us what we are today! Remember that we mean what we say...we want to hear from you. What you like, what you don't, what you would like to have here in the future, what can we do better for you.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Penny pinching without being Scrooge

Good Morning world. Never thought researching an article could be so much fun but Holidays Without Going Broke is turning out to be a joy. Researching all the events in the Tucson area that are both kid and grown-up friendly ways to get into the holiday mood without getting out the credit card. There's Luminaria Night at the zoo, Luminaria walk in Tubac, and Luminaria at the Botanical gardens....we're big on luminaria in these parts! It's so beautiful on a crisp desert evening to walk around some of these beautiful places lit with the traditional soft candle light of luminaria...smell the roasting chilis and cinammon scented Mexican hot chocolate. It will all be in the Tucson pages for December. We're hoping that readers around the world will share with us favorite local sights, scents and sounds of the holidays. Go to and click on Your Voice.
Check out our favorite blog at . Our logo designer, Benjamin Ilka, his wife Annie Wallace and 13 month old Maxine, have just moved to Ethiopia and are deep into culture shock and adventure. Annie is going to start a column for us on advice for moving to a Third World Country. Tip # 1...don't go to Ethiopia without a Visa card...Mastercard is rarely accepted there.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Launching the blog

Signing on - join us for the journey as Genny and I keep you updated on editorial processes, diversions and out-right disasters! We've just published the 12th. edition of an e magazine for women in matter what stage of life you are in, transition is involved. Working on the December issue today with Celebration as a theme and how our writers' interpret that is going to be interesting. From traditional tamale recipes to a "reindog" fundraiser, from appreciating the simple things that solidify a relationship to avoiding the choices that can destroy a relationship, from understanding the basics of a 401K to simplyfying holiday's all in the December issue. Come along for the ride.
Genny and Gerry

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Welcome to Connections for Women's Blog

Welcome to Connections for Women's Blog

Connections for Women sprang from the friendship between women. Aware of how precious friendship is in the good and the bad times we were also aware of how easy it is to become isolated, to believe we are the only woman experiencing a particular type of grief, hardship, loneliness. It is our belief that by bringing women together in both a virtual and real world, that we can foster within women the drive for dignity, independence, success and prosperity that we all have buried somewhere in our being.

We believe that by connecting women we can empower women, imbue women with purpose, inspire women to be passionate about living each day to its fullest, lead women to live lives of prosperity both in the spirit and real world.

Genny Esterline and Gerry Hogan