Tag Archives: apple pie

A Crying Baby and a Few Pies

27 Oct

Late last month I boarded a flight to Portland for the first leg of my journey to see my daughter, Alex, in New York. I sat in my assigned seat, greeted my seatmate and waited for takeoff.  A few minutes later, a young couple with a crying infant headed for their seats – one row in front of and across the aisle from me. Moments later the baby’s cries became more frantic.  At that point, the mother handed the baby to the dad, and he sat there holding his screaming baby. The “mom” in me thought that by waving at the baby I could distract him for a moment, and maybe his cries would abate.  Instead, the baby’s Dad saw me waving and handed the baby over to me.

screaming baby

I was stunned!  The baby was screaming so immediately I tried bouncing him on my knees. Then I decided this situation called for serious measures and stood up and began rocking him from back and forth. The first flight attendant said that this was okay to do and that he’d let me know when we were ready for takeoff, so I continued to rock and talk quietly to the child.  In a matter of minutes, his cries became less frantic, and soon he stopped crying altogether. Then I noticed that the baby’s head was beginning to lean on my chest and before long he was sound asleep.  At that moment, the second flight attendant told me that I needed to sit down, so I handed the baby back to his parents. When I did that, the flight attendant looked at me in disbelief and said, “He’s not yours?”

No, he wasn’t mine, but I was happy to help because (let’s be honest) many of us have had that same experience. We’re stressed out for so many reasons (for example, packing and getting ready for a trip, rushing to the airport, etc) and of course, our baby picks up on that stress. Instead of being an annoyed passenger thinking “Oh no, a crying baby” I wanted to do something if I could and, fortunately, it worked out. The baby slept for the rest of the flight, Mom and Dad seemed more relaxed, and I got to soothe (and hold) a new baby.  Win-win-win!  What a way to start my trip!

high five

The reason for my visit to New York was so that I could help celebrate Alexandra’s, 27th birthday.  We did so by attending The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (cost: free!), The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (cost: free!), and the musical The Book of Mormon (SRO tix only $27!).  We also took long walks, dined around town, and simply spent time together. It was such a good visit and I know that I am a very lucky mama!



While there I baked three apple pies… one for my brother-in-law, Mike, one for our friend Tom’s birthday, and one for my daughter’s amazing friend, Royce.

me and roycePie for Tom Minor

Royce with me and his Apple Pie and an Apple Pie for Tom.

Sullivan Street Bakeryimagine

Enjoying scrumptious bread at Sullivan Street Bakery and visiting Strawberry Fields, the John Lennon memorial site.

Once back home, I baked another Apple Pie for one of our favorite singer/songwriters, the amazing Martin Sexton, who opened Jefferson Public Radio’s One World Performance Series. Then, a few days later, I baked yet another Apple Pie for a woman who donated to a charity that I help with. It was such fun to surprise her with a pie to thank her for her gift. Finally, a Bacon and Roasted Pepper quiche found its way to a dear friend who is going through chemo. It’s something nourishing that she can eat when she feels like eating and will also hold for a few days when she is not able to do so.

quiche for JoAnn

It’s been a long time since I’ve written and part of the reason for my delay was that there were so many stories in the news that have felt especially devastating. Some days I’ve found it hard to read the paper or listen to the radio because the stories break my heart. At times like this, I wish I could do something magical and change the world for the better. Until then, I will continue to give away pies… and maybe, every so often, I’ll rock a crying baby.

“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.”  David Mamet

Creating ripples….

14 Sep

This last month, in addition to baking almost every day,  I’ve had a couple of interesting “pie” experiences that I would like to share with you.

a quiche for Liz

A Quiche for Liz

The first occurred at a party for my husband’s team of managers.  One of the women there asked me if I was still baking pies everyday.  No, I answered, it’s more like a few times a month.  She then turned to her partner and said, “Karen baked a pie a day for a year.”  That’s when he looked at me and said, “You’re the pie lady?  You brought me a pie!”

pumpkin pie for Debbie

Pumpkin Pie for Debbie

I wondered how that could be for I’d never seen this man before.  When he told me that he knew my friend Shirley it all came back to me.  During my “pie year”, Shirley had asked me to bring a pie to this man because he’d been so very kind and helpful to her… and of course I said I would.  Then she told me that he would not want to meet me (he’s pretty shy) and so we arranged to leave the pie in a safe place near his house.  He told me that he had arrived home that night wondering what he would have for dinner and saw a pie sitting there.  He said that pie solved the problem!  How about that… one day I deliver a pie and three years later, I finally meet the recipient!


A quiche for my friend in need

Then last week my husband and his team went to dinner with a business consultant and her husband.  My friend, Amey, was there and casually mentioned to them that Emile’s wife (me) had created a project a few years back, giving away a pie a day. The couple both seemed stunned and told Amey that their friend back home in Sacramento had read about my pie story.  She’d been so inspired by it that she decided to set up a pie stand (much like a lemonade stand).

The next day that same couple popped into the kitchen at the B&B where I am working (they were guests there…  another coincidence?). They were happy to meet me and so excited that they could go home and share this news with their friend. I gave them my card and hope that their friend will soon share her pie experiences with me!

judy's pie prep

Prepping an Apple Pie

Finally, several months back I baked a pie and a friend came to mind and I decided to bring her the pie. When I reached her on her cell phone and asked if she was at home, she told me no… and was in fact on her way to her sister’s funeral. When I told her the reason for my call, she thanked me and said she felt better knowing that I’d been thinking of her. A few days ago, I baked an apple pie and called that same friend.  This time she was home… but shared that her brother was very ill and she’d just returned from visiting him.  She said that she would love a pie and thought it might help to cheer her up.  It seems strange that I thought of her when she going through two very difficult times… but I was so grateful to be able to help in my own way.

Judy's Pie

An Apple pie for Judy

Though these stories are not extraordinary at all, what most surprises me is the fact that years after my project ended, I am still discovering how people – some whom I don’t even know – were affected in some way by the gift of a pie.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa


So many pies… and so many amazing friends

30 Mar

Something has been bothering me lately… and the “problem” is that I can’t remember all of the pies that I’ve made and given away!  Part of it could be attributed to getting older… or maybe it’s because I don’t write about the pies right away… or maybe that’s just what happens when there are nearly 500 pies to keep track of!

For example, my friend Debbie texted me today and asked if I was available for a walk.  It’s been a while since we’ve texted and I noticed a photo above today’s text. It was a photo she sent a few weeks ago of the gluten-free tart that I’d made for her Dad for his birthday.  Crazy, it was only a month ago… but I’d forgotten all about it!

Debbie's Dad's Birthday Pie

A pie for Ralph’s 85th Birthday

Then last week I made a  pie for a couple that live in my neighborhood.  We used to walk our dogs together YEARS ago and since then we don’t really see each other very often.  The strange thing is that when I found the empty pie plate on my porch yesterday with a note stating “Deeelicous” Thank you, R&L” I was stumped!  It took a little while before I finally remembered who I’d made that pie for… and that’s scary!  After all, it was only last week!

Pie for Rob and Linda

Apple Pie with Heart for Rob and Linda

To be fair, I’ve had a lot going on.  Once a week, I coordinate our church’s homeless shelter. This experience has given me a glimpse into the lives of folks that we might otherwise overlook because we are so caught up in our own “stuff.”  This service is greatly needed and I’m honored to be a small part of it.

Then, for the last month or so, I’ve been helping to cater events at the Ashland Elk’s lodge.  Usually our lodge entertains about 30 events a year, yet this March alone we had seven!  This has been a lot of fun… and I’ve gotten to know some great people in the process, but it has also kept me pretty busy.

However, I wasn’t too busy that I couldn’t bring a pie to a dear friend. A few weeks ago Merry sent a group email to friends and family letting us know that she’d been recently diagnosed with Ovarian cancer.  As soon as I could, I brought her a quiche and as we visited, she shared the story of her friend who had died late last year.  This friend had cancer and when asked what she wanted, she told Merry that she wanted other women to know the symptoms to watch for so that they could be proactive and get help as soon as possible… because with early diagnosis, the chances for recovery are much improved. And leave it to Merry to get that message out there with a bang!

Pie for Merry

Apple pie for Merry and Mike

Yesterday Merry’s story and photo appeared in the Medford Mail Tribune.  I beg you all to read it and share it with the women in your life.  Tell them to be aware of the symptoms for reproductive cancer… and to keep track of them on this symptom calendar and then bring that information to their doctor.  Don’t wait!  As Merry says, these cancers are quiet… but not silent, and the quicker you act, they better your chances.  Our hope is that by sharing this message, women will recognize early that something is wrong and have the confidence to do something.  Please pass this important message along…. and thank you so much for doing so!

Merry and Mike, smiling as always!

“Everyone suffers some injustice in life, and what better motivation than to help others not suffer in the same way.”
Bella Thorne

Pies for so many reasons!

7 Mar


Coco and Alex, meet their host sister Lucka

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur and for good reason.  First my daughter , Alexandra, decided to come home for a brief visit before she began her new job (with Warby Parker!) and then my son, Coco, surprised me one night with a knock at our front door (he and his Dad were in cahoots about this).  So, for about a week I was back in Mom mode (my favorite place) and let a lot of other things go.  Well, except for pies.

While she was home, Alexandra mentioned that she wanted to stop at her (and our) alma mater, Southern Oregon University, to visit with her adviser, Rene.  A perfect occasion to bring along a pie!  The ingredients – apples, butter, flour, and sugar – came together quickly and as it baked we got ourselves ready.  Soon we were heading over to the university on a beautiful day.

Alex with pie at SOUAlexandra with Apple Pie

We were thrilled to find Rene (and office manager, Kathy) available to visit for a few minutes and they seemed happy to see us as well (or was it  the still warm pie?)  Alexandra is one of Rene’s first legacy students.  He was a professor to her parents (Emile and I) twenty plus years ago and then was her professor as well.  He still recalls seeing us carry her to school in the baby backpack.   Thanks for everything Rene!

Alexandra with Rene and Kathy

One day during the week I noticed that my friend, Margie Cicerrella, was featured in  the local paper.  Margie is retiring after many years of working as a children’s librarian.  Margie has been a driving force for literacy and among many other things spearheaded  the “Welcome Baby Book Bags” program – a program designed to promote language development in infants by giving new parents a cloth bag filled with board books.  For that alone, Margie deserves a million pies!  But alas, all I could do was bring her this one – a sweet potato and pecan pie.  Thank you Margie for all the wonderful work that you’ve done!

P1000559After a fun-filled week with Alexandra and Coco (cooking together, seeing plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and singing along to Coco’s guitar playing), sadly, they both had to return home. The first day after they left I must admit that I felt pretty blue.  Fortunately, I had agreed to teach a friends’ troop of girl scouts how to bake a pie (and share my story of giving away pies) that very afternoon.

At first, I was a little nervous but the girls were simply delightful.  They listened to my brief talk and then the kitchen was a flurry of flour, pie dough, and pumpkin pie filling!  Lots of questions were hurled at me, but I managed to answer most of them, and at the end of the afternoon, the counter was filled with pies.  There’s nothing like making pie – and helping kids learn to bake – to fix the blues!

P1000584The last pie I made this week was for the family of an old friend who succumbed to cancer a few days ago.  My heart aches for her husband and children and bringing them dinner and a pie felt like a way to ease their pain… and I’m sure my friend would love knowing that her family was cared for in this way.


“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” —Alan D. Wolfelt

The Pies that had to Wait

3 Feb


Ingredients for quiche: Bacon, Onion and Peppers

Recently I learned that an old friend was diagnosed with cancer.  I’d not seen her in a long while and was taken aback at the news.  Immediately I offered to bring food for the family as I know that they are very busy taking her to and from doctors appointments.  However, because my friend has been following a very restricted diet, my offer of food was not able to be accepted.

It wasn’t easy to stand by knowing that the family was struggling.   It is my belief that sending food to those in need is in fact sending love disguised as nourishment.  While the food can satisfy the body’s need for sustenance, what I envision is that the recipients can also feel the love that they were held in during the time it took to prepare and deliver their food.


Making use of my new apple peeler – Thank you Nordic Ski Team!

Two nights ago I was thrilled when my friend’s husband asked for food to be brought for him and his daughters.  More specifically, he asked me for a quiche and a pie.  I was honored to be allowed to help in this small way.  After checking ingredients at home, I made a dash to the store for bacon, apples, and cream.  Next morning I arose early and prepared both pies, all the while, holding thoughts of the family in my heart.P1000453



Love when the juices bubble through like this!

It is my hope that some of that love seeped into the pies and will provide them with a little bit of comfort and the knowledge that they are not alone.


“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart.” —Cesar Chavez

Leaving for the Peace Corps

20 Jan

P1000213 Not long ago I received an invitation to a going away party.  The invitation came from my friend Karen and stated that she was hosting a party for her daughter, Mariah, and son-in-law, Collin, who were leaving to take a position with the Peace Corps.   In fact, in a few weeks, Mariah and Collin will be leaving for Zambia! It’s been a few years since I have seen Mariah, but back when my kids were small, she used to babysit for me when I had a meeting to attend or an errand to run.  Mariah was more like a big sister to the kids and since she has beautiful red hair, just like my daughter,  she would often be asked if they were sisters. (And Mariah knows that when she is in Zambia that red hair will surely create a stir!) Curious as to what the next two years will be like for Mariah and Collin,  I did a little research and found a few articles that offered some insight.  This one listed five reasons NOT to join the Peace Corps, one of which is “to build my resume.” Clearly this is not a good reason (there are easier ways to do that) and using this as a mantra won’t get you through the tough times.  Then I found this YouTube video by Carrie Pavlik (who was in the Peace Corps 2007-2009) that shows the beauty of Zambia but also demonstrates just how much work is involved in doing the everyday things that we in America take for granted (getting water, cooking, taking a shower, etc). Mariah and Collin are excited that they are going to put their skills (both of them are fisheries experts) to work to help people in a country that is thousands of miles away. Yesterday was the bon voyage party for Mariah and Collin, and even though I knew I would be late in arriving if I baked a pie before going, I just had to do it.  I wanted to say with that pie that I am so proud to know them, that I admire what they are doing, and to wish them all the best on their grand adventure! P1000216 If you are interested in learning more about their journey, you can follow them on their blog: www.MariahandCollin.wordpress.com “The Peace Corps is guilty of enthusiasm and a crusading spirit.  But we’re not apologetic about it.”  Sargent Shriver “You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.”  Tom Brokaw  

Thank you, Nurse Kathleen!

9 Jan

Kathleen's pie

This past week my Dad fell twice.  Both falls occurred during the wee hours of the morning and thankfully my Dad did not suffer any injuries… but of course that does not mean that I wasn’t worried about him.  Immediately I began wondering what was causing him to fall and what could be done to prevent him from falling in the future.

When I asked Dad what he thought was going on, he really didn’t know.  That might also be a part of the problem.  When Dad awakes, he “thinks” he is fine and so he tries to get up (maybe before he is really awake or before his body is ready) and then tumbles to the floor.   To make matters worse, Dad chooses not to call the med-tech on duty because he “doesn’t want to bother” anyone and so he remains on the floor for an hour or more.

Fortunately I found that I was not alone in my concern.    A few days ago I received a call from the staff nurse at the facility where my Dad is staying and she asked if we could talk.  Since I was about to bring my Dad back to the facility, I agreed to meet with her.  When Dad and I sat with Kathleen I was impressed with the caring way that she spoke to my Dad and how she shared real concern for his safety.  She was able to do so in such a way that captured his attention in ways that I as his daughter cannot.

We agreed to ask Dad’s doctor to look into adjusting Dad’s medications and also encouraged Dad to consider calling for help before he gets up in the night… at least for a week or two.  When I finally left the facility to go back home, I felt a great sense of relief because I had found an ally on this journey.  This is not to say that the rest of the staff is lacking; that is not true at all.  But after talking with Kathleen I felt that someone understood my Dad, had a connection with him, and was looking out for him.  That means a lot to me and so yesterday afternoon I stopped by Kathleen’s office with an Apple Pie to thank her.   It’s so very nice to know that I have her on my team.



“It is not how much you do but how much love you put in the doing.”  Mother Teresa






Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 578 other followers