Tag Archives: Apple Almond Pie

Why Rotary?

5 Oct

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a member of the Ashland Rotary Club.  To be more precise, I am an Honorary Member of that club.   Here is how the Rotary International website describes what that means:

Honorary members have distinguished themselves by meritorious service in support of Rotary’s ideals. They’re considered friends of Rotary for their permanent support of Rotary’s cause and are elected by the club.

To tell the truth, I’ve never read that before tonight.  I thought I was chosen to be an Honorary Rotarian because I made the monthly birthday cakes.  But I know that it there is more to it than that.  Since my husband joined the club more than 16 years ago, I’ve participated in the club in one way or another.  At first I only sang with “the Rotary band” at the annual Holiday Party for shut-ins… but over time I found a number of ways to make a difference.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been very active at the Rotary garden.  Just last week I learned that over the last four years our efforts have resulted in more than 10,000 pounds of fresh produce being donated to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank.  How wonderful is that?

Mixed Berry Pie

Apple Almond Pie

One of the Rotarians who works with me at the Rotary garden made this special request, “Could we please have pie instead of cake at the birthday table in October?”  Of course I was happy to comply!  The only thing I did in advance was to send an email to the “other” October birthday folks asking if that was okay with them…. and I was not surprised to learn that it was.

Early yesterday morning I prepared two pies for the meeting – one a Mixed Berry Crumb Crust Pie… and the other, an Apple Almond Pie.  Then, to top it off, I picked up some vanilla ice cream so that the pies could be served a la mode.  Almost as soon as they were delivered to the birthday table, the pies were cut and distributed all around… and it warmed my heart to see everyone devouring them.`

On more than one occasion I’ve been asked by curious friends if “it helps” being a member of Rotary.  What the question means (to me) is “does it help your business.”  Perhaps it does… but if you’re asking that kind of question, I don’t think you understand what Rotary is all about.  Again, from the RI website: The Rotary motto Service Above Self conveys the humanitarian spirit of the organization’s more than 1.2 million members. Strong fellowship among Rotarians and meaningful community and international service projects characterize Rotary worldwide.  

By being a member of Rotary I have met people from all over the world – and have had the opportunity to help make a difference in some amazing ways.  And I’ve gotten to know my fellow Rotarians better by working alongside them to do good.  And so, if you were to ask me “Does being a Rotarian help?”  I’d have to say “Yes. It helps so many people… and it will help you too… but probably not in the ways that you expect.”

Tonight I would like to dedicate this post to a friend and fellow Rotarian, Hal.  He was a great man and will be greatly missed.

Go into the world and do well.  But more importantly, go into the world and do good.  Minor Myers Jr.

Day 189: Peter Buckley

12 Oct

A few days ago I received an email from our representative in the Oregon House of Representatives, Peter Buckley. It was a very well written message about what Peter thinks has brought our nation to it’s current economic crisis and what we can all do to make a difference.

One of the things that he mentioned in his message is that his salary is $22,000. When I read that I thought, “Why would anyone do that kind of high pressure job for so little?” It’s just a little over $400 per week to represent the citizens of Ashland. And, not only does Peter represent us, he recently accepted an appointment to lead the budget work in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means (responsible for a budget of $55 million!)

While I really don’t know Peter personally, what I like about him is that he is down to earth and approachable and willing to work for the best interests of our town. I like that you may see Peter at the market shopping for groceries or perhaps out walking his dog. Peter has to handle day to day problems as we all do. He lives among us and is aware of the various issues that we face in southern Oregon.

Late this afternoon, I brought an Apple Almond Pie to Peter and his family. It is my way of thanking him for all of the hard work that he does on our behalf.

Day 176: Brian and Emily

29 Sep

As some of you already know, I am a contest junkie. For many years I have tried to be the right caller at the right time to get that certain prize. And over the years I have scored a few absolutely wonderful prizes. Luck has something to do with it… but it takes something more. You’ve heard the joke where the woman (or man) asks week after week, “God, please help me win the lottery.” Finally a deep voice from heaven booms, “Meet me halfway… buy a ticket!” Well, I try to do my part and buy the ticket (or in this case, dial the number).

One of my favorite wins came from a rock station in the area. The way it worked was if you were the right caller, you “qualified” to win tickets and back stage passes to see Jackson Browne. Well, somehow I qualified for the contest. Friday morning came and they getting ready to announce the winner. At that time I was on my Nordictrack with headphones on. The DJ said he had the winner’s name and he announced it slowly…. Karen (and I thought, no way it’s me) and then he couldn’t say the last name (Amarotico) and I began screaming. My husband could not figure out why I was screaming (remember I had on head phones) and he ran to the window to see what might have caused my panic. When I finally calmed down and told him what I had won, he calmly asked, so “who are you taking?”

Later that day I called my friend Julie and asked if she would meet me in Eugene to see Jackson Browne… and of course she said yes. It was one of the best wins ever. We saw an awesome concert and then were invited backstage to meet Jackson Browne afterwards. He had been interviewed by the Oregonian earlier in the week and he said something that bothered me; something like “people don’t get involved.” I brought the article to the “meet and greet” and told him that by saying that he had “dissed” all the people that did get involved. I suggested that he say instead “I wish more people would get involved (in good causes)” because it did not negate those who already are involved.

Then I turned around and saw a line of folks waiting to speak with Mr. Browne and I immediately apologized for making them wait and they seemed to say “it’s okay” because this conversation seemed real – not just another “Please Mr. Browne autograph this guitar for our raffle.” Truly a wonderful moment.


Today I brought an Apple Almond Pie to Brian and Emily, to thank them for my most recent win. These two have become more than on-air personalities – they are much more like friends.

Day 128: Amber

12 Aug

Some days I know where my pie is going right from the start. Inside my cupboard I have a small slip of paper with a list of the birthdays of some of my friends – and as you may have guessed, today is Amber’s birthday.

Amber and I met a number of years ago at a restaurant where I was the head baker and she was a waitress. After a while, it seemed that waitressing was losing it’s appeal and Amber thought that she might like to give baking a try. She was an apt student and soon was preparing everything we served with ease. It was great to have someone who could do my job and who cared as much as I did.

Amber and I shared some special moments over the time that we worked together. I remember when she introduced me to the man that she would marry. I watched them as they shared a meal and was impressed by the way that they seemed oblivious to the people around them – that was something to see. And while I was not at her wedding (I think it was a “family only” affair) I did make a cake for the celebration. I was just tickled to be included in that small circle.

While we worked, Amber and I talked about many things – children, parents, and a host of other subjects. I am especially grateful to her for introducing me to the work of Marianne Williamson. I have referred to her book “A Return to Love” many times and seem to learn something new with each reading.

When I brought Amber her pie today, she reminded me that I had written “Happy Birthday” on the sidewalk outside her house when she lived near me. It had been so much fun to surprise her then. And it was equally special to surprise her today with an Apple Almond Pie. Amber, I hope that this birthday is as special as you are.

To close, I will leave you with this quote from A Return to Love:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson

Day 69: Flag Day

15 Jun

Flag Day is celebrated on June 14 because it was on that day that our flag, also known as “Stars and Stripes” or “Old Glory” was adopted by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777. In 1818, after 5 more states joined the Union, Congress passed legislation fixing the number of stripes at 13 and requiring that the number of stars equal the number of states.

The flag means different things to each of us. For many, it is a powerful symbol. I remember learning the words to the Star Spangled Banner and imagining what it must have been like to wonder about the outcome of the battle. Consider these words:
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

These words ask a question. At this point, there is uncertainty as to who had won the battle. In this day of instant messaging and cell phones that may be hard to fathom, but surely one can sense the urgency that is posed.

The Kiwanis Club of Ashland has taken responsibility for placing the American Flags around our city on national holidays for over forty years. The Ashland Kiwanis, are a branch of Kiwanis International, whose motto is “Serving the Children of the World.” Most of their activities and service projects are centered around the youth of our community.

This year, the Chair of the Flag Committee is Russ Chadick and I brought him an Apple Almond Pie tonight to recognize him for his service. Russ shared his love of the flag with me and said that his section of the city was down Siskiyou Boulevard. I asked him when the flags were taken down and he said that since some of the Kiwanis had other commitments tonight, they would take their flags down around 4:30PM. Since Russ didn’t have another commitment tonight he will leave his section up until 6PM – that way the flags can be displayed longer. He thinks they make a beautiful sight – and I have to agree with him.

Day 47: Remembering Dick Cottle

24 May

Dr. Richard Cottle came to Ashland from Kansas in the early 1950’s.  He was a lawyer who practiced law for more than forty years.  He was a municipal judge in Ashland as well as a city councilman. He was named Ashland Chamber Man of the Year. And many people know him because he was a member of the Firehouse Five and the Easy Valley Eight.

I first met Dr. Cottle when I took Business Law at Southern Oregon State College. He loved to tell the story of how I would always complain that the law was not fair; and he would reply, it may not be fair, but it’s the law. That was a hard lesson for me.

Over time, Dick Cottle became a friend and mentor to my husband and me.  We got to know his wife and his children and their families; he became a friend to our children as well. We all felt special to be included in his group of family and friends.

Apple Almond Pie – given to Dr. Cottle’s family on the first anniversary of his passing

When I told Dick the lawyer jokes that I knew he never laughed; instead he seemed to shake his head in disbelief.  “How did things come to this?” he seemed to be thinking. Well, I hope he knows that I really was just trying to make him laugh.  I will close with one of those jokes.

A man and his young daughter were walking through a graveyard observing the varied gravestones when they ran across one that read: Here Lies a Lawyer and a Good Man.  The young lady thought a moment and stated: Look Dad, they buried two people in this grave!

Or maybe just one great man. We miss you Doc.

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