Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thanksgiving Fantasy Party

Jessica, Angela and the World Famous, Liam!

Wendy, Lauren and the Queen
Thanksgiving this year was one of the most enjoyable and memorable any of us have ever had.

If you want to truly experience life, hang out with some folks that are sure to get your creative juices flowing.  In my book, that would be Dominique, Justice, Liam and their brainchild, the Thanksgiving Fantasy Party.

The family was instructed to wear costumes that fulfilled their wildest dreams and desires.

A Queen was presiding.  Yep, that would be yours truly.  Dominique's fathers fantasy is that he somehow shares a passing resemblance to Hank Williams Jr. which was evidenced by his cowboy costume.  Dominique looked stunning with diamond studded false eyelashes, dark flowing hair, and a black sparkly ballerina tutu.  Even from a wheelchair, this woman still gives the world famous Mikhail Baryshnikov a run for his money.

I am continually impressed with the creativity that flows from Dominique.  Amidst a pretty tough week pain-wise, she still packed up the kids for a trip to the local Big! Lots to purchase the necessary items for our Fantasy Party.

When we walked into their Joshua Tree retreat home, we were treated to soft lights, candles burning, strings of mood lighting, a lava lamp glowing, and this really cool disco ball type thing that rotates and radiates multiple colors onto the walls.  Sacred drum music permeated the atmosphere.  If I were a guy and walked into this scene, I would've been convinced that I was about to get lucky.

And lucky we were!  We all enjoyed a prepared Thanksgiving meal from the local Stater Brothers which featured a moist turkey with all the fixins.  We sat around and laughed, told old family stories that we've all heard hundreds of times yet never tire of, played pictionary and drank fine wine.  Some of us even took a hit off of Dominique's oxygen tank.

The next day, we drove out to Joshua Tree National Park.  If you haven't visited this park, you absolutely must put this on your bucket list.  We've been talking about bucket lists quite a bit lately.  I highly encourage you all to start one.  This park is one of the most famous rock climbing parks in the world.  It inspired me so much, that I plan on giving rock climbing a try myself next time I'm in Joshua Tree.

I know that many of you have been quite concerned when you don't hear from Dominique for awhile, understandably.  When I spoke to her today, I asked her what she would like me to relay to all of you, our dear family and friends.  This is what she said:

Thank you, thank you, thank you ALL for your continuing support and caring enough to check on her.  She is quite optimistic because all of you have done so many little (and big) things.  The outpouring of love has touched her quite deeply.  Folks have sent money, books from favorite authors, her best loved flowers, phone calls, prayers.  One person even sent a nifty little electronic gadget that she had been wanting yet wouldn't have bought for herself.  When I walked into her room, she was clutching it dearly in bed just like a child with a teddy bear.

Liam and Justice are hangin' in there with style.  The two of them sit down with Dominique and write out family goals and objectives.  Liam is participating in band practice, and Justice is pursuing her art.  All this while getting good grades and helping take care of Mom.  Dominique gives her children the biggest gift that any parent can give a child.  The gift of encouraging them to be Who They Are.

Health-wise, the biggest thing for Dominique right now is simply keeping the stress levels down.  This usually means she can only take one or two phone calls a day.  Most of her beloved writing and blogging is currently in draft mode, so stay tuned.

I will leave you with a famous quote that I found on FaceBook today:

"I think I may go ahead and keep on living, for spite if anything" - Dominique Mainon

Jessica and My Grand Pup - Victor Jose Snaggles
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being you.  I LOVE YOU ALL!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lemon Ice Box Pie AKA... Key Lime Pie

Tomorrow, our family heads out to Joshua Tree for Thanksgiving dinner with Dominique, Justice and Liam.

This is not to be your normal Thanksgiving dinner, folks.  This holiday is headed up by a family of creative artists.  Nothing is as expected.  Nothing is as it should be.  Nothing is normal.

The title for this holiday:  "The Nightmare Before Thanksgiving"

Justice and Liam didn't get a chance, due to Dominique's condition, to properly celebrate Halloween.  The two decided that now would be a good time to don our costumes and have a Breakout Thanksgiving Celebration to beat all others.  We are all instructed to wear costumes.  And not just any costume.  It's to be the costume which defines our ultimate fantasy of what we've always wanted to Be, Do or Have. For me, that's easy.  I'm going as a Queen.  My daughters advised me that for me, that's not a costume.  But that's another story for another time.

What I really want to share is my recipe for our family's favorite holiday pie.  Lemon Ice Box Pie.  Also Known As Key Lime Pie.

Growing up in Florida, I had plenty of experience with tasting the worlds best Key Lime Pie.  You readers from Florida know what I'm talking about.  No matter what kind of restaurant you go to, Italian, Mexican, Seafood, Greek, Indonesion, Cuban, the menu always features Key Lime Pie for dessert.  I've tasted some of the best.

When I was married to Dominque's father, John, I was introduced to his Aunt Mizelle.  John was born in the humble town of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  This is a town where the loving hearts are huge and the early onset of stage two diabetes is preceded by much laughter, love, hugging, heart felt conversation and sugar.  Life is short.  Eat dessert first!

Aunt Mizelle was famous for her Lemon Ice Box Pie.  When I tasted it I thought "Hmmm, this tastes suspiciously like some of the best Key Lime Pie I've ever had.

Without further ado, or further a don't, here is the closely guarded family recipe for Lemon Ice Box Pie:

This refreshing dessert compliments your next holiday family gathering (which may be your last).  It goes well with Turkey, Stuffing, Love, Laughter and Costumes.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Enjoyment Time:  Till Death Do Us Part

1 eight ounce package of cream cheese (softened)
1 fourteen ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 graham cracker crust
Lemon or Lime juice
Cool Whip

Combine softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in a large mixing bowl.

Mix with hand mixer until smooth.

Add Lemon or Lime juice until you like the way it tastes.

Pour into graham cracker crust.

Allow to chill overnight to set.

Serve with a dollop of Cool Whip

Now if you want to get all fancy about it like they do on the Food Network, feel free to make your own graham cracker crust and mix up your own whipped topping from fresh cream.  This all depends on whether you're more comfortable in a double wide or South Beach.  Either way, your taste buds and your enjoyment of life is sure to sing with delight.  I've made this pie for many family and friend gatherings.  The reviews have been truly overwhelming.  Give it a try.  And while you're at it, give life a try.  This season is all about Thanks and Giving.

I usually charge ten big ones for this recipe, but today you get it for free.  Or, if you're especially in a giving mood, you can pass on the ten bucks to this family who is in need of prayer, love, friends, family and money:

Click on the "Donate" Button to the right for credit/debit cards or make out a check to "LOST FACTION PRODUCTIONS" and you can mail your contribution to:

Lost Faction Productions

c/o Jennifer Evans
1225 Gaviota Drive
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  I am continuously in awe of the amazing outpouring of love I'm feeling during this time.  Life is a beautiful gift to be savored.  Now go savor your Turkey!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The MasterMind

Kerry and I just came back from a wonderful long weekend with Dominique, Justice and Liam in Joshua Tree.

When I walked into Dominique's bedroom and saw her lying in her hospital bed, hooked up to oxygen, my heart went out to her.  But I know who she really is.  A talented, creative, sharp, powerful individual with laser beam focus.  Even from her paralyzed, stage four cancer condition, from a hospital bed or a wheelchair, this intense, humorous woman continues to create magnificently.

Even though she's in a condition that few could fathom, she doesn't let it stop her from being a writer, a friend, a daughter and most especially, a Mother.  Not just a Mother, but a single Mom of two teenage kids.  Since Justice and Liam don't have a Dad, It's just the three of them out in the middle of the desert, our small family, and you, my dear friends, who are making an amazing difference in the lives of three people that most of you have never even met.

Justice, age sixteen, is at the age where she's starting to become very aware of her individuality. She's exploring her identity through photography, writing and art, which inquiring minds can check out at her Deviant Art Gallery.  And, she's got the brains and talent to go with the beauty!

Liam at age fourteen has got a schedule that few adults could handle.  The day is filled with being an honor roll student, band practice, and giving his Mother heck.  Let me explain:

Liam got himself into a bit of hot water with his Mom this week by deciding that it was a good idea to miss a day of school due to his busy schedule.

Picture Dominique lying in a hospital bed.  Her cell phone rings.  The recorded announcement states "Your child Liam, has missed one or more periods of school"  What?  Where could he be?  He left the house on time.  Justice made it to school fine as far as I know.

A flurry of frantic phone calls begins.  Calls to local friends.  Where is my son?  Where oh where could he be?

Finally, Liam sends Dominique's phone a text message saying that "I'm coming in now."

What he did at this point was to exit the back door of the house and re-enter through the front door.  It turned out that he was in the house quietly hiding with a friend and conspirator the whole time!

When I heard this story, I took Liam aside and had a little talk with him about how to properly skip school.  Folks, I have a bit of personal experience with this as I was lucky enough to be the sister of the Mastermind of school skipping, sneaking out of the house, and generally giving my Mother early onset high blood pressure.  My sister Monica, who will hereafter be referred to as the Mastermind, had this clever trick to avert my Mother's alert of any truancy phone calls from the principals office.  Back in our day, we had those old fashioned phones.  You know the kind.  They had a well defined earpiece and mouthpiece.  The Mastermind figured out that all we had to do was unscrew the earpiece, take out the receiver, and voila! When the truancy office called to advise our Ecuadorian Mother that we had missed one or more periods of school, the call was met by deaf ears.  I can just picture my Mother screaming into the phone "Hola?" "Hola?" HOLA?"  And then finally slamming the phone down thinking it was broken.

While not exactly handicapped, having an Ecuadorian Mother who didn't quite understand the desires and impulses of young American healthy, good looking, smart, (did I mention good looking) resourceful teenage girls, well, we could've probably been inside the house like Liam and she would have been none the wiser.

My point in telling you all this is to illustrate that even though Dominique is either in bed, or in a wheelchair, she still goes through all the same stuff that every parent has to deal with.  And she does it with class.  Liam got his "what for".  Trust me on that one.

What can we do? For pennies a day, we can help Dominique raise Justice and Liam.  She got through last week which was especially hard as she had to deal with the threat of the paralysis spreading to her hands.  The hospice staff was able to change up her medication in a way that slowed the inflammation so that's she's able to continue to write what may be her final screenplay.

Sunday night, the five of us got a medical transport to the local Applebee’s for a rip roaring evening of good food and laughter.  Dominique’s artists eye misses nothing.  Her humorous observations of life had all of us belly laughing so hard that we could barely eat our “two for twenty dollar” specials.

On a serious note, I want to sincerely thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the amazingly generous outpouring of love, prayers and donations.  I have been blown away by the loving, caring attitude that I've witnessed from all of you!  Most have not even met Dominique, Justice or Liam.  Your loving spirit has made it possible for the three of them to keep on keepin' on.

I also got four signed copies of Dominique's books which I plan on sending to anyone who contributes $200 or more.  You can also purchase Dominique's books through the link provided to the right. They make great Holiday Gifts. Check out her Author's profile or her Wikipedia page.

We have more goodies in store to offer in the near future.  Custom t-shirts featuring Justice's artwork is one of the items you can look forward to.

This is our way of giving back to all of you, who have been so kind, loving and caring.  No donation is too small to help this family get through this tough time.

Now is the time! Click on the "Donate" Button to the right for credit/debit cards or make out a check to "LOST FACTION PRODUCTIONS" and you can mail your contribution to:

Lost Faction Productions

c/o Jennifer Evans
1225 Gaviota Drive
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

The stream of abundance is constantly flowing to you, through you, and from you if you will allow it.  And the stream works both ways.  Remember: "A closed fist cannot receive"


Friday, November 4, 2011

What We've All Been Waiting For - Lights, Camera, ACTION!

I met Dominique when she was thirteen.  She’s forty-one now and is one of the true loves of my life.

I was dating her Dad at the time, which later became my husband of seven years.  When I met her, she had a mischievous sparkle in her eye and a sense of humor that I immediately related to.  We shared an instant bond.  What fun we had together riding horses, watching really bad B-horror movies on the latest invention, a VCR, and collaborating on creative projects.

Today, she is a published author, screenwriter, photographer a great friend and most importantly, a wonderful Mother to two beautiful kids.  (nobody admits to the ugly ones)

She is also paralyzed, in a wheelchair, and diagnosed with stage four metastatic cancer.  Does she let that stop her?  No!  She’s currently working on her screenplay, which could very well be her last, and maintaining her sense of humor.

Dominique’s daughter, Justice, is sixteen.  What a delightful, talented person she is!  She is a poet, writer and draws the most lifelike portraits you’ve ever seen.  She’s also studying to become a fashion designer.

Her son, Liam: where do I start?  Talk about high IQ.  Nothing gets past this kid.  He’s fourteen going on forty.  One of the things I love most about Liam is his wry sense of humor.  We spend hours laughing together.  He’s an accomplished, completely self-taught, guitar player, plays the drums and the flute and is a martial artist.  He also has a passion for anything Star Wars.  You should see this kid with a light saber.

They live in Joshua Tree, CA, in the middle of the desert, just the three of them.  A year and a half ago, the kids dealt with a family situation  that left them without a father.  So, it’s just the three of them, our small family and you, my dear friends who have the opportunity to make a difference.

When I was a kid, sitting at the dinner table, unwilling to finish my dinner, my Dad always used to say to me “There are millions of starving kids in the world” to which I would reply “Name two”!  How would me not finishing my Tater Tots help them?  I finally get it, after several years on the planet, that helping others is the highest form of spirituality.  But helping whom?  And how?  Why is helping others so important?  Here are some reasons:

It makes you more attractive.  Who would you rather be around?  A greedy selfish person who is self-centered or a generous, loving person?  We want to be attractive, don’t we?

It’s important for your health.  Researchers conducted a study in which they recorded a group of men’s conversations.  They counted the times the words “Me, Myself or I” were used.  Those studied who had the highest number of self serving words actually suffered a much greater percentage of heart attacks than those who did not use those words.  Our health depends on it!

It’s our chance to live a regret free life.  How many times have you heard a person say, at a funeral, “I wish I would’ve done more”

What we give out comes back to us.  Those who help others never go hungry.

Dominique is still here today.  Her kids will live on to have productive lives.  At present, they don’t have much and the needs are many.

What I’m proposing is money donations, care packages, time and prayer.  I realize that many people think they don’t have a lot while others of you are quite abundant.  But everyone can contribute something.  Here are some ideas to get us started:

Spare change.  Who ever thinks about it?  I went into my junk cabinet today.  We have a large freezer quality zip lock bag filled with change that Kerry takes out of his pocket every night.  There must be at least $100 in coins.  How much is in your spare change pile?

Garage Sales or Craig’s list.  How much junk do we all have lying around that we don’t need?  My last garage sale netted $800  Wow!

Simply writing a check for whatever amount you lovingly decide feels good.  No amount is too small. Or just click the donate button on the right.

Care packages.  I will let you know in later posts what specifically is needed.  Or you can let your creative imagination rip as you’re reading this.

Prayer.  Someone: James 2:14-26 said, “Faith without works is dead”  Prayer is highly important, backed up by the power of God ministered through action.

I believe in humanity.  I love and adore all my friends, family and those of you whom I haven’t even met.  Together, we can make a difference.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  Most of us take for granted the freedom of swinging our legs out of bed in the morning, getting in our car and driving wherever our heart desires.  To Dominique, Justice and Liam, a medical transport to Denny’s for a slice of apple pie to celebrate one of their birthdays is a huge, big deal.

Let’s fill their lives with love.  Let’s make it possible for Dominique to fulfill her wish: to write her final screenplay.  Let’s put a smile on Justice and Liam’s face and hearts by knowing that the world is a beautiful place, filled with people who care.  This is our chance to really make a difference.

And read Dominique’s blog!  It’s not often that you get to read the thought provoking words of a professional writer for free.  Writers live for people to read their words, just like great cooks live for people to taste and enjoy their food.

Now is the time!  Click on the "Donate" Button to the right for credit/debit cards or make out a check to "LOST FACTION PRODUCTIONS" and you can mail your contribution to:

Lost Faction Productions
c/o Jennifer Evans
1225 Gaviota 
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“The future depends on what we do in the present” - Ghandi

I love you ALL!  Stay tuned for ongoing updates.