Thursday, November 14, 2013

Baking for Thanksgiving 2013

Bacon-Pecan Pie from Easter 2013
Holidays are a great excuse to bake something for those I love, and Thanksgiving is just two weeks away! I'm starting to get ideas for things my family and friends might like and have been reflecting on things I baked in the past.

German Chocolate Cake from
my husband's 30th Birthday
My go-to baked treat has always been chocolate chip cookies, but for holidays and birthdays, I like to try and do something different.   About 10 years ago, I made Pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust, and I'm thinking of doing it again this year with a pecan crust.  It's a tasty alternative to traditional pumpkin pie that I think my family will enjoy.

What are your favorite holiday desserts?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Flying Zombies

So, I may be taking things to seriously.  I've written and rewritten several draft blog posts with topics ranging from word origins to the history of my hometown.  I originally intended this to be a little less formal, and need to switch directions. To remind me of this, I've posted a picture of plush Walnut and Zombie from the game Plants vs. Zombies (PvZ).

Speaking of walnut, PvZ 2 for the iPhone came out a few days ago, and I finally have a reason to stop playing Candy Crush.  I'm not a big gamer, but can waste hours killing zombies with adorable plants.  Future me is enjoying PvZ Garden Warfare.

Out of all horror scenarios, I imagine zombies to be the most likely to happen.  Obsessing over a cute game distracts me from more plausible zombie-like epidemic scenarios, until I read something like this: Pigeon Zombies!

Now, I'm going to go play PvZ 2 to forget about the impending pigeon zombie apocalypse.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Modern Day Slavery

Photo: Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department
Miguel* is a father.  When his son was diagnosed with cancer, Miguel learned that he could not afford the necessary medical care on his salary in Mexico.  He could make more money in the U.S.  Desperate and unable to afford passage on his own, Miguel took an offer for transportation to the U.S. where he could “pay later.”  Tricked by false promises and threatened with violence, he soon found himself enslaved in the orange groves of Florida. No money went to his son’s care, as all of Miguel’s “salary” went to repay a never ending debt.   

“I felt like a slave from the moment that I arrived because we couldn’t pay for the ride and because we had to pay for that and then they started to threaten us.” Miguel told an interviewer from Free the Slaves.  “It was horrible.”

Because of the intervention of the Coalition for Immokalee Workers, Miguel was rescued.  He was able to secure a real job to support his family and ensure his son received medical care.

Miguel’s story is one of over 27 Million people worldwide who are victims of modern day slavery, also known as human trafficking. According to the U.S Department of State, human trafficking is any situation where a person is obtained and held in compelled service.  Victims are forced to work without pay through deception, fear and violence.  Subjected to physical and psychological abuse, victims are forced into the sex trade, to be child soldiers, or into  various forms of labor, most commonly in factories, restaurants, hotels, and households (maids, nannies, gardeners, etc.)   Captors prey on the vulnerable and use deplorable tactics to ensnare victims and avoid detection by law enforcement.   

Ending slavery requires action from all of us.  So, what can we do to help victims of Human Trafficking?

  • Lean more and inform others (see resources below.)  
  • Urge your local, state and federal representatives to support legislation that criminalizes human trafficking.
  • Advocate for the training of first responders, including law enforcement, fire departments, and  emergency room personnel.
  • Support organizations that provide shelter and other services to victims of trafficking.
  • Purchase fair trade goods, certified as produced without child or slave labor.
  • Know the National Human Trafficking Resource Center's hotline:
    • 1-888-3737-888.  This number can be called to
    • Report a suspected case of human trafficking
    • Connect with anti-trafficking services in your area
    • Request training and technical assistance, general information or specific anti-trafficking resources.


National Human Trafficking Resource Center/Polaris Project

The U.S. Department of State

Project to End Human Trafficking

Free the Slaves

* For protection, Miguel’s name has been changed.  His story is taken from Free the Slaves, where there are more stories of survival and anti-slavery resources.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Goals

For the last week and a half, I have been extremely blessed to be able to take some time off to visit family in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York.  It was a wonderful break, but I'm happy to be back to my usual routine.
A good time was had by all. My very happy husband outside
of Obscura, home to his favorite reality show "Oddities."

I don't like to make New Year's resolutions, but this year I've set some 2013 goals.  I have read that it is best to keep goals secret, because sharing gives us a sense of satisfaction similar to achievement.  But, being quiet about my goals in the past hasn't always worked out so well. My hope is that writing down goals will keep me accountable.  So far, my goals are pretty standard. Additions and changes may be made as the year progresses.

1.  Live healthier and encourage a healthier lifestyle for my husband.

  • Eat out less, and cook more at home.  Embrace vegetables, whole grains and tasty nutritional food. 
Ingredients for a homemade breakfast of Coconut French toast.
I don't have any photos of veggies, hence their inclusion in the goal. 
  • Begin and stick to an exercise routine, and seek to be more active.  
  • Be more conscious of what I put into and on my body.  

2. Create more and consume less.  More writing, singing and baking to share with others.  I will make the coasters for which I have been collecting bottle caps.

Cookies to share.  To eat them all would violate goal #1. 

3.  Learn and improve skills and interests.

  • Improve public speaking  and communications skills
  • Read at least one book a month.
  • Be a more active and involved member of our RPG Gaming Group by investing more time to fully learn rules and create character back story. 
Do you have any specific goals for 2013?  Do you prefer to share, or keep to yourself?

May your 2013 filled with love, joy and many happy surprises!  

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Wax Madonna in Vegas
was an earworm trigger.  
The music of my subconscious is always playing. It is the the soundtrack of my life.  Hearing music is completely different than hearing voices. The most destructive thing it causes are awkward moments of dancing to the music in my head.    At the moment, Christmas tunes are playing in heavy rotation. If you walk by my office at work, you will either hear the song of the moment or see me doing one of my signature bopping dance moves.

The random selections of the music of the subconscious can be amusing, perplexing and annoying.  Why I am hearing this song now? Is the universe sending me a secret message?

by Rhitu Chatterjee, scientists have a name for songs that get stuck in our heads - “earworms.” There is even a website dedicated to collecting earworm stories:

Usually, my earworms are songs I recently heard, or that have particular meaning to me. Sometimes the trigger is a phrase. For example, when I see the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On,” 98% of the time, my mind is going to play Kansas' “Carry on my Wayward Son.” So, what causes earworm infestations? According to the article,  earworms infect our brains for multiple reasons, including:

  • Recent music exposure
  • Repeated music exposure
  • Word triggers
  • People triggers
  • Situation trigger
  • Stress
  • Surprise
  • Dreams
  • Mind wandering

What earworm has invaded your brain today?  Is it annoying or just entertaining? Can you identify the trigger?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The First Post

Welcome to Socially Awkward Robyn, the public revelation of the randomness that lives inside my head.  I often feel like an introvert living in an extroverted world, which creates for some awkwardness, at least in my mind.  As such, I keep a lot of thoughts to myself, and I have a need to purge my mind, you know, to make room for more important stuff.  This blog is an attempt to fulfill my need to create, while releasing thoughts trapped in my brain.  So, if you found your way to this spot, I hope you enjoy your time.