Nope, Not Sorry. Still Not Picking Your Ass Up

Rule #1: If I don’t know you, I’m not picking you up.
All other rules: refer back to Rule #1.
Exceptions at my discretion…

My days of picking up people on the side of the road are gone.
Even when I did, the times were rare because I was picky.
No dogs, no backpacks.
They had to have their thumb out and be looking at me so
I could judge them by their appearance.
No pissed off faces, no downward stares-
Do you want the ride or not, you ungrateful mooch?
If they looked like they needed a shower, the answer was no.
If it was raining, no.
If it was dark, no,
Unless it was a girl and then definitely-
Call me old fashioned, but a girl should never be alone
In the dark on the side of the highway.
And if I was on a schedule, the answer was no.

Due to my rules, most of my experiences with hitchhikers have been pleasant.
I had many unexpected times with friends, and
I’m sure I saved a girl’s life once by driving her home-
She was drunk and I almost ran her over as she ran into the road with her
Thumb out not realizing she was that close to the yellow lines.
There were a few awkward trips because I made exceptions to the rule
But there were also a couple of exceptions that,
Because of my keen eye of judging appearance,
Led to parties where I met some pretty cool folks.

So maybe you think that I don’t pick up all the hitchhikers because
I have never spent time on the side of the road?
Well, that assumption would not be correct.
Most of these times were with my sister
When we ran out of gas or slid into a snowbank.
We lived outside of a small town, so
We knew many of the people driving by,
And since we lived in a climate of deathly cold,
We have been picked up by the Good Samaritan Law which dictates that
A person must pick up anyone stranded on the road due to the
Extreme likelihood that they could freeze if not.

One of the most interesting times I needed a ride was
When a pump in my car decided to die.
It was dark, I was very far from home and believe me,
I thought about sleeping in my car.
It was summer in Alaska, so the weather was not cold, but
It was not warm, either.
This was way back when cell phones were the size of cereal boxes
But even I had had a cell phone, I was sure to be in a dead spot.
A semi-truck going the opposite way was the first to stop.
It took me a long time to realize the truck was slowing and
Since I was a girl all alone in the dark on the side of the highway,
It took me a while to warm up to the idea of talking to someone
In the dark going the wrong way.
The driver leaned out of his window high up on his big rig
And asked me what the situation was.
He drove away, slowly going through the low gears,
Calling the next truck coming north.
Soon another truck appeared,
Going the right way and already knowing he’d have
A companion about the same age of his daughter back home.
I had never ridden in a big rig before… Way cool.
But I forgot to leave my car key for the tow truck and garage,
So I was headed back the next day,
This time in the comfort of my mom’s car.

The coolest hitchhiker experience I’ve had was in Canada.
A friend and I were driving from Washington where I was in college
To Alaska where both of us were going to work for the summer.
My car (same car- a light blue Honda Accord with flip up lights)
Had a pump that died…
We had just passed a town, so we turned the car around and sat,
Deciding what we were going to do.
A box truck going the opposite way stopped to assess the situation-
Two kids on the side of the road with the car doors open and license plates not from Canada.
He called his friend who came and picked us up with a tow truck.
He also called his son who came to pick us up from the garage in his green Camaro.
He also told us we could stay the night since
The car probably couldn’t be fixed before nightfall and
As long as we didn’t mind joining him and his friends at his annual lobster boil with
Fresh lobster flown in from Newfoundland earlier that day!
We each paid $20 for a whole lobster and learned how to eat the brains,
Went to a kegger with the son and were blown away with his new skateboard company
And passed out in a pop up camper, taking shots and laughing.
My car was done before noon the next day.
We thought about staying another day.
Instead, we took turns driving so the other could sleep-
We would not make it to work if we lollygagged any longer.
I remember sleeping in the parking lot of a gas station
Waiting until it opened because we would surely run out of gas
Before the next dot on the map.
We drove into my driveway so early in the morning that it was still dark.
We showered, got back into the car and drove to our first day of work.

But now that I am a mother, a wife and a woman of a mature age,
One of the last things I need to be doing while I have two children in the back
Is trying to make pleasantries with an unknown person
Who is not going to give me money for the gas they are sharing
While we drive to a location that is most likely not where I am going.
I could be teaching my children humility and kindness
If I did pick up strangers from the side of the road,
But that’s only if the hitchhiker is also kind, returns my small talk and
Is not a drunk on a beer run who believes he deserves the ride.
Sometimes lessons with too many unknown variables are not worth the experience…

Posted in comedy, emotions, personal processes, poetry, real life stories, tips, writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

An Everyday Lesson

Feeling overwhelmed and
Trying to take it as a challenge.
Fuck perfection,
There’s not enough time.
Do my best work in
An acceptable amount of time
And let go of the rest-
That’s the best I should hope for
Because, after all,
Nobody’s perfect.

Posted in emotions, I can do better, life changing, personal processes, poetry, real life stories, rediscovering myself, reminders | Tagged | 4 Comments

Oceanless Island

The second day of heavy vog
Makes me contemplate the quality of living.
Gorgeously sunny days are marred by thick air and a loss of horizons
So it suffocates with a reddish hue and makes me think the world is on fire.
Helicopters beat the ground they fly so low.
Civil Defense flyovers, looky-lou VIPs and tourists have the route on repeat.
My daughter yells for silence when the lava eruption updates
Break the monotony of songs and ads on the radio.
She’s six. All she really understands is she moved schools because of the lava.
My throat burns with heavy metal particulates and
My eyes well up with thoughts of my old routine that included Pahoa.
The best part of living on an island is the expansiveness of the ocean
But this gray haze cuts the world off at the next line of trees.
This oceanless island is laid heavy with tulle, the same stuff of childhood dresses,
Only this time, it doesn’t add beauty to the overall picture,
Just opaque color and itch.
Some small part of me is thankful for the vog because it brings the lava to everyone’s attention.
Most other days, only the residents of Puna think about it
Because they’ll be the only ones affected.
My, my, what a difference twenty miles makes.
Cheap land and an edge of the world atmosphere brought people here,
Ironically, those may be the same things that start an exodus
When the lava crosses the only civilized highway.
Pele created these Hawaiian Islands,
She’s played in Puna for the last thirty years and
It’s clear she’s not done yet.
The question of where she’ll go next is on every Punatic’s mind,
Yet after all the stops and starts since she began her trek toward Pahoa on June 27, 2014,
An acceptance has settled.
Many have left already, those staying will stay because they have to,
And those caught in between are waiting…
Hoping for the fits of a native Hawaiian goddess to end.

Posted in emotions, june 27th flow, lava, life changing, natural disaster, Pahoa, poetry, real life stories | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Tales With a First Year Elf

Our elf didn’t stand a chance. He was given to me by a friend so he didn’t come with the box that had the instructions. Being a vintage elf, he has the most expressive rosy cheeked smile and special light in his eyes, but being vintage, his arms are connected and he doesn’t sit that straight. With my instinctual procrastination, the Christmas boxes weren’t cracked until the third of December. The advent calendars were filled late. We barely had enough time to grab the Santa hats before it was the annual town Christmas parade, and then it happened. I was opening one of the Christmas tins that hold ornaments and such in the off season and cookies and things in the season, and I unwrapped our elf with the kids less than ten feet away. With my bent understanding of elf of a shelf, having learned everything from looking at the box on the shelf and hearing snippets of rumors that he did this or he went there, I knew that the kids weren’t supposed to see me take him out of the Christmas boxes. I swear my daughter looked up at me and saw him, but without a skip in my heart, I turned around and lackadaisically put him up on the mantle between some of my husband’s big shiny trophies. With a wonder in my head, I turned back around and picked up an ornament from a tin to give to my daughter for the tree. Like so much of parenting, it was just like magic.

That night after dinner, when my daughter looked up and said, “What’s that?” pointing to the smiling little Christmas cherub, fantastical stories gripped me. With flourish I told the kids about the Christmas elf who is their direct line to Santa. Santa is always watching, as we know by the song, but this elf is the extra security to make sure both good and bad behavior is reported. The questions from the kids started coming and, like balls flying at the best World Series, my husband and I kept batting ‘em into the stars. This elf flew to Santa every night, faster than a blink of an eye, but he always waited until you’re sleeping. He moves to a new place in our house after he comes back from telling Santa and that’s how the kids will know that Santa knows. Pure clueless gold! Who needed to know the official rules of the elf on a shelf? Surely not our house!

We had to name the little guy and anyone who has small children in the house knows what “great” names come up. I was wondering with small dread what hideous name this great face would have to be called for the rest of his life. Buddy first came up, Chalmers was a friend’s elf’s name and then my daughter shouts out, “Zippy!” The appropriateness of it settles over us since he does have to be quite fast. She lets out one of her infamous guffawing laughs and blurts, “Zippy Wippy!” and melts into peals of joy. So Zippy’s stories began.

Starting simple, I moved him around without much outside influence. On top of the bookshelf, on the shelves of the bookcase, on a tree branch up by the angel, on a boat decoration on the tree, up on the kitchen cupboards and once inside the KitchenAid bowl as if waiting for the next batch of Christmas cookies. He got quite brazen when he slipped inside my daughter’s stocking on her birthday. There were a couple of times the kids pointed out that Zippy may not have reported to Santa because he didn’t move overnight, but I reminded them that Zippy also had to make sure they were on their toes doing their duty and watching out for him. There was a notable uptick in their behavior on a few occasions when it suited one or the other well and put the other in a bad light, so that worked out well in the parental arena. I saw crazy pictures of other elves videoing Barbie and her friends as they soaked sink side, making number two in the form of kisses on those peanut butter shortbread kiss cookies and one deplorable elf passed out with a straw in hand after making a coke line disappear! Oh, to the detriment of the season, and you better believe I never showed the kids such behavior.

Now that the new year has rounded the corner and the Christmas decorations are still up, Zippy has stopped moving and was in what appeared to be his favorite spot up by the angel on the tree. Tonight he fell off of his branch. I picked him up so gingerly and brought him down so they kids could ooh and aah over him. Then they told me to put him back up in the first place they found him- up by Daddy’s big shiny trophies on the mantle. Christmas magic is clearly still hard at work, though the wrapping paper and tags have been thrown away. For this upcoming Christmas, I may actually research a few scenarios for our adventuresome elf on a shelf.

Posted in Christmas, comedy, elf on a shelf, holiday help, I can do better, parenting magic, perfect for holidays, personal processes, real life stories, reminders, tips, writing | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Prep for Christmas 2015!

Yes, I’m starting already…

With every year, I have upped my Christmas game which is necessary since our daughter is getting quite savvy. This year as the holidays rounded the corner into the new year, I spent a little time reviewing how it all went. Thinking about all of this now seems crazy, but if I wait too much longer, I won’t remember and then will be in the same boat in less than 12 months! Overall, I should congratulate myself because there were no major mishaps but there are nine tips that I need to remember for Christmas 2015. Improving on these will definitely ensure a painless holiday season!

  1. As I’ve learned during Christmases past, start early, but this year’s addendum is also to follow through. I began plotting and shopping online right around Thanksgiving. When I found something that fit the plan, I put it on my Amazon wishlist. Awesome, great job. Well, two weeks later when I went to actually buy the items on my wishlist, a few of the items were either backordered or not available in the sizes I needed. This Christmas, plot, shop AND BUY!
  2. Make sure the grandparents (at least) get pictures of the kids. To make it even better, help the kids make a handmade ornament with their picture in it.
  3. Christmas cards, Christmas cards, Christmas cards. This is the second year in a row that I failed. Flat out failed. In 2013, the failed Christmas card turned into swearing I would send New Year’s cards, then Valentine’s Day cards, finally Easter cards and then I quit even thinking about it after that. Last year, Christmas came and went along with the new year, though I did order cards on January 1.
  4. When Thanksgiving is put away, I must immediately bring out the advent calendars along with Zippy, our Christmas elf. It’s embarrassing touting the swiftness of Zippy Wippy when he doesn’t show up until the 3rd of December.
  5. And for goodness sake, find some more options for that witty elf. Research ideas on Pinterest around Thanksgiving and resist the urge to set-up the more gritty scenes- this is for the children, remember.
  6. Letter, letters, letters from the kids. My daughter is in the first grade and loves to write little notes to her favorite aunties, her grandparents and her friends. Date and save those love notes and send them with the pictures. They are precious memories that loved ones who live far away will cherish more than stuff we can buy.
  7. Sugar cookies in a roll! On Christmas Eve, I whipped up an incredible sugar cookie recipe but I didn’t leave enough time to cut them with cookie cutters. Squishing it into a plastic wrapped cookie log, the kids and I were able to cut them, bake them, frost them with some eggnog frosting and put them out for Santa in less than half an hour! This next time, I must remember to make the log skinnier and place the cut rounds farther apart on the cookie sheet for more circles and less blobs.
  8. I do not like to admit it, but I did not have a camera anywhere near when the wrapping paper started to fly. No matter how much I can try to recover and say that we had a private and personal Christmas, I didn’t take pictures. Not something regrettable, but definitely something that should be corrected for Christmas 2015.
  9. Receipts, warranties and tags, tags, warranties and receipts. Immediately register, print and tape the receipt to any warranties, save the other receipts and don’t clip the tags… just in case. And don’t forget where the receipts are collected.

I’m quite happy with Christmas 2014 but there is always room for improvements. I can do without digging through oodles of wrapping paper in hopes of finding tags so I can return a hoodie. I would like to remember how happy our son was when he opened the giant remote control Gravedigger toy and how surprising it was to see our daughter’s repulsive reaction to her first Ken doll. If I can usher my kids into craft projects that make memories for our families trees then we can send more love and less fluff! These are my reminders to help me limit stress and enjoy each holiday more. Aloha and happy 2015…

Posted in Christmas, holiday help, I can do better, personal processes, reminders, tips | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Impromptu Dye Day

There were other things that I could have done, but didn’t want to. I dug in the deeps and gathered all the supplies. I was surprised it all came back so fast considering how long it’s been since I’ve dyed or batiked anything. Making sure to snap a picture before I took off on my color adventure, I felt proud and confident on my move to sweep everything from my schedule.

dye day prep 11-17-14

It probably took an hour to get the first scarf in a dye bath. I messed around with a latticed cooling rack but it was more of a struggle than I expected. I made two small tears in the scarf so I started folding. I must have folded and re-folded that wet silk a dozen times. The ideas were grandiose pictures in my head. I couldn’t get that lattice work picture out of my head, so I went back to the cooling rack. I finally got three scarves where I wanted them. Since it’s been so long, I kept the colors straightforward- turquoise, fire red and black. I put the last item into its dye bath and paused for lunch.

dye day in process 11-17-14

Rinsing the creations can be exhilarating but also can be a letdown. The turquoise scarf was the one I ripped so I was almost hoping it wasn’t too cool. It wasn’t but I gained some insight on how to make it better next time. The fire red scarf came out pink as I had half expected it to but the creases I had hoped would be crisp and clean came out somewhat muddled. The bleeding and blending of the colors redeemed it a bit. The prize of the day came from the black geometric starburst scarf.

I follow a method from a book called Dyeing By Accident by Ann Johnston. By using less water than the usual full immersion dye baths, it allows the colors to bleed and even separate. It is truly the best lesson in color theory because it shows me what colors make up other colors.

I’ve also started a Dye Journal to track my folds and record thoughts for future renditions. It is probably the most important tool in my bag of tricks right now. There are many things I can work without, but without a log of how I’ve done things, I’m always starting over. I will probably need to add pictures at one point or another but everything is a work in progress.

The end results weren’t as prolific as I’d hoped, but the feeling I had rinsing my creations made it totally worth it. Progress in a creative avenue is what I needed on this day rather than another trip into Hilo.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Images That Moved Them Most: Photographers on America’s Veterans

Sadly I didn’t post anything this Veteran’s Day… This covers all of my emotions– the strength of the soldiers, the aftermath they have to deal with, the photos that come back… Tears roll down my face as I read these stories. Thank you doesn’t even come close to what we owe those who choose to serve.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Much Ado About Me

Rediscovering myself? Reinventing? More like putting it all together. Using what I know now with what I could have done and actually applying myself. Actually posting the blurbs I only write halfway. That means writing faster. Which means writing more. That way I can produce more effectively. Grease the wheels and the wheels will go. That’s Applied Knowledge at its finest, ladies and gentlemen, putting everything together.

Some things are falling into place, but my time management and continued efforts to keep things going are not. Disrupted by children whom I can’t blame, it’s a constant battle to carve out any time at all to create an identity that is me. Sure I should be proud. It could be a lot worse, my husband says. It could, I agree! But as always, I want more. And more than anything I want to create stories that people want to read. Humor, baking, history, wine, god forbid, parenting. Jewelry is nice but words are my thing. I’ve always come back to them and when I work with them, they rarely let me down. They are the progress I want to see. Streams and streams of them across the page. Prose, articles, poetry, blurbs… I’ve never gotten tired of them and I can always see myself writing. Batiking, sure, but so much dyeing and time. Jewelry, beautiful and proud of how I get to wear or see people wearing my work, but not as easy as I had imagined.

If only I could be happy just being Mom and doing all of those Mom things–soccer Mom, play dates, activities and projects that teach… But it’s not all sunny– they whine, they pitch fits, they rock the boat and throw rocks back at the limits they just crossed. To keep my cool and curb their shitty attitude is tantamount but it sure is easy to say. Trying to figure out what works before they move onto the next stage while listening to other parents’ stories but not putting too much stock in how they say I should be doing it… Somehow in my world just being Mom sucks and that drives me crazy to no end. Why can’t I be good and happy at it? Is this funk enough to find another avenue aka get a job? Would any job I get make the equation balance between expenses and income? Or would I just be making all of our lives harder? Harder than they already are?

So somehow, as always, I’ve talked myself straight back the beginning– re-identifying myself. Restructuring to fit our current needs. It’s not just about me. We are a family and I am a part of it. Right now doing my parts which means children first and foremost. If I’m lucky enough, I will teach my children about space and when it’s Mom’s Time and I will learn to jump on opportunity when it presents itself. Ten minutes here, 20 there. Right now it’s 11pm with puffy tear stained eyes and a stuffy nose. But it’s mine and it’s got words.

I keep hoping it will all come together with this piece or that, but I know I just have to work with what I have. Like hubs says, we’re lucky. We may even be luckier than both of our parents were. I guess it all depends on how one defines luck. So many people have worked harder, come from a harder place, made due with less. Call me spoiled, I don’t want to.

Doomed to be a thinker, my doing capabilities are limited by how fast I can think, It takes me a while sometimes and being bull-headed, once I get a firm thought in my head that won’t go away (for years), it’s hard to stop thinking about it and do it. How do I do it? Should I do it this way or that way? Do I have enough time now? Will the kids spare me some time? Am I doing it right? Should I try something different?

But back to writing effectively, I just have to do it. Every day. Any moment I can spare. Lately it’s been driving. Not good. But the ideas whiz in and whiz out so fast, I know I have to get the paper out so I can catch enough to re-do it later. And I’m the only one who can do it. So maybe if I make a routine, my brain and my children will accept it and I will satisfy that incredible need I have to be somebody, to create something, to be Selene as well as Mom, housekeeper, chauffeur, chef, financial bitch and wife. Why can’t I be happy just being Mom?

Posted in emotions, life changing, personal processes, real life stories, rediscovering myself, writing | Leave a comment

Lava stories

Lava crossed the first road bordering Pahoa Village at 3:50am early Saturday morning. It took over the cemetery I’ve never even seen Sunday afternoon. An O’ahu newscaster made her clip that night posed in front of the little dip in the road that has the banyan at the bottom that I drive by most days of the week. Evacuation notices have been passed out to those “in the direct path of the flow.” It all seems surreal, as if it couldn’t be happening to our little town. I know I have to remember I did choose to move here even as the lava was flowing back then. I just didn’t expect … this.

In late September when the lava was headed toward Kaohe Homesteads, there was a rush and frenzy, and it just felt like no one was totally prepared. The advancement slowed enough to let us all re-evaluate our plans. By traveling farther northeast and crossing a secondary road used primarily by homeowners and pot smoking employees of the town businesses, I have to feel lighter knowing that homes were not the first thing taken by lava. Yet the severing of Pahoa is inevitable. With an unclear timeline and an unpredictable outcome, all we know for sure is life will change. I still don’t think anyone is really ready.

My daughter was all excited about Spirit Week which started Monday with Sports or Career Day- dress up in your favorite sports attire or what you want to be when you grow up. We picked out clothes that we thought would look good on a teacher. Her parent teacher conference was today. She couldn’t wait to wear her Elsa costume to school on Friday but the paper that got sent home today states that there will be no school on Thursday or Friday so she can wear her costume tomorrow. Yesterday I picked up enrollment papers for another school, I told her teacher thanks for being a good one today and will drop off the enrollment papers tomorrow in hopes she can start there on Monday. She’s only five, but we’ve told her that the lava is coming and tried to prep her for a new school. She tells me one time, “Pele is angry, so my friend moved to Kona,” and she’s excited about switching schools. Kids are resilient. It all seems so cut and dry. I wish I could borrow some of that quality right now.

In late September, my family and I walk into one of the local businesses for some takeout. The woman adores our kids and gives them hugs and sodas. She loads up our plates and has such a winning smile that even though I’ve never learned her name correctly, we always make small talk and tip well. When my husband asked how they were preparing for the lava, she kind of laughed and said, “Lava, haha, yes” before returning to work. We don’t speak the same language but it seemed as though she knew the word, but maybe not the situation. A friend on Facebook posted just about the same experience with the same woman a couple of weeks later.

Similarly, I walk up to the paper machine on Sunday to get the paper and a woman stops behind me. She makes a half gasp and says, “Oh, it crossed the road? Where?” I guess the lava only crossed Apaa Road a few days ago, but to me, if lava is close, I’m going to keep my eyes and ears open to any communication about it. Civil Defense makes new reports every morning and every radio station replays them throughout the day. I’m usually on Facebook at least once a day and my feed is plastered with every post about the lava from every source there possibly is. In some ways, the information is stressing since lava is such a permanent disaster and is taking an incredibly long time, but I’d rather know than not. If only I could be so blissfully okay with not knowing as it seems these two women are.

There will be so many affected by this current lava flow. It took over five years to cover the Royal Gardens Subdivision in Kalapana and then Pu’u O’o was still flowing in that same area for the ensuing 20. This lick of lava has traveled much farther east than ever before. The cracks of the East Rift Zone made a channel for it and when the lava exited, it meandered north which slopes down toward Pahoa. Everything tapers off to either side of the rift zone, so if it had found a different crack, maybe it would have exited south and drifted closer to the old flows. Now if it follows the steepest descent models, the lava stands to cut off numerous mapped subdivisions, hundreds of farms and homesteads as well as more than half of Pahoa Village. I am lucky to be on the other side, but my father-in-law and many of my friends aren’t.

The situations of residents are so varied. Some who can have already moved. Out of those staying, some have made it a choice to stay while others have no other option but to stay. The retired couple on a fixed income with a mortgage on their home, the guy’s company that will let him transfer but won’t help him or his family with moving costs, one woman’s plan to utilize credit card offers of 0%APR to help build her house and roll it all into a mortgage falls through now that there is a no-sell insurance moratorium on everything in Lava Zones 1 and 2. There are so many stories that start with living in paradise until the Hawaiian goddess of lava decides to make her firelight dance.Through it all, I do feel the heart and soul of Pahoa is getting stronger and can pull together, but I think the length of time it is taking is the hardest to endure.

If we could just know Pele’s path, we’d all pitch in to help people move and make a beautiful way for her; if she could just do it within a couple of days rather than weeks, months and years; if she didn’t have to go through Pahoa…

Posted in emotions, june 27th flow, lava, life changing, natural disaster, Pahoa, real life stories | 1 Comment

Personal pumpkin crunch pies

I’m cupcake obsessed right now. With two kids under the age of six, they don’t need a huge piece of cake, but on top of that, they absolutely love it when I give them a little cake of their own! When I saw this new recipe on Facebook, I had to try it even though it called for a 9″x13″ pan size. I went against every natural instinct I had and made it the way they wanted me to make it. Even with two grown men, it was a hit. One comment was, “This is what all crusts should taste like, it’s just upside down!” I had opened a large 29oz can of pumpkin puree to make it the first time so I had the second half to deal with. I decided to be daring and attempt to make Personal Pumpkin Crunch Pies! Thank you to Duncan Hines® for the original recipe, I kept close to it…

Ingredients:
1 can (15-ish oz) solid pack pumpkin
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbl pumpkin pie spice (other similar recipes call for just cinnamon or the gamut of pumpkin pie spices, I think that the one spoon does it all quite nicely)
1/2 tsp salt
1 package yellow cake mix (Duncan Hines® recipe recommends Classic Yellow, I used whatever yellowish cake mix I had)
1 cup butter, melted (you’ll never catch me using margarine and, both times I’ve made this, my hindsight tells me to use less butter next time)
1 cup chopped pecans (but I think macadamia nuts would be off the Richter scale, too)

(WARNINGS: I had leftover dry cake mix. I do not think forcing the rest into the cupcakes would be a good idea, so I am saving it for later. I will add it as a topping to brownies or other pies I make. If I had three cupcake pans, I would try to portion it out accordingly between 36 personal pies rather than 24. Also, by making this recipe into cupcake portions, it no longer qualifies as easy for me. It’s a pain in the ass- trying to evenly portion out dry cake mix and butter is ridiculous! But having a personal pumpkin pie is… oh yea, priceless)

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cupcake pans with liners and spray with non-stick stuff.
2. Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a large bowl. Stir until well blended.
3. Pour mixture into the cupcake tins, being aware of that 3/4 full rule you see everywhere.
4. Sprinkle dry cake mix fairly heavily into each tin. I had approximately 1/3 of the cake mix left.
5. Drizzle just a smidge of butter into each pie. The butter will run to the edges and not soak in or stick to anything but that’s okay. It all works out in the end.
6. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle nuts on top. Your pan is gonna look like a nightmare. Just keep going.
7. Cover with foil any way you can because the pans are hotter than hell. Other recipes don’t call for the double bake or the foil but the pictures are also quite a bit more brown so I’m sticking to this technique.
8. Put back into the oven for another 8 minutes.
9. Cool completely and try not to eat more than three.

Posted in baking, cupcake, dessert, perfect for holidays, personal pie, pumpkin pie, sweet treat | Leave a comment