LA Clark

What if the only requirement to get into heaven is, in fact, good grammar? You should all be thanking me for trying to save your eternal souls from damnation!

Thoughts on Complexity

I don’t know how or why our society has developed an intense aversion to complexity. I read through Twitter and Facebook posts disparaging the citizens of Ferguson. Blaming them for burning down their own city and snidely asking how they think looting and rioting will help their cause. It makes me feel sad for people like this who seem to have limited or no ability to invoke critical thinking at a time like this. I have been watching the news and live feeds of the riots. I’ve sadly seen peoples’ livelihoods burn to the ground. I have also seen people linking arms and protecting local businesses. I have seen hundreds, if not more, of the protesters kneeling on the ground with their arms in the air, chanting. All by myself, I was able to consider that just maybe these were two distinct groups of people in the same place trying to accomplish different things, even though they are the same race. It’s shocking how few people are able to distinguish between the two. I think it’s time to starting referring to them by different names; protesters and rioters (or disgusting opportunists).  Ferguson is not in the middle of nowhere. People from other places do have the ability to transport themselves there. It isn’t like the whole country wasn’t aware of what was going on or the potential for chaos. You honestly don’t think a few jerks from St.Louis or somewhere else nearby didn’t hop in a car or on a bus and head that way to take advantage of the situation?

I also think it is scary to hear the interview with the Ferguson cop. Did Michael Brown attack Darrin Wilson ferociously with intent to kill him; as Wilson claims? Did Darrin Wilson shoot Michael Brown while he was innocently standing 40 feet away with his hands in the air surrendering; as Brown’s friend claims? I wasn’t there so, I don’t know what the truth is or what it isn’t. I’ve always believed that there are two sides to every story but the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. Are both Michael Brown and the Darrin Wilson to blame- from what it sounds like, to some extent- probably. However, during the interview Wilson seems incredibly certain; of everything. I find that concerning. When asked if he believed that he would have acted the same if the man was white or Asian he answers very quickly and firmly, “Yes!” Really? Because I don’t consider myself the least bit racist but I can’t say that on some subconscious level I’m not more afraid of a large black man following me down the street than a large white one. Psychological studies have proven that a person can be completely unaware of their of subconscious bias to a number of things including looks and race. When asked if he felt there was any thing he would have done differently again he firmly and without question claimed, “No!” I find that astonishing. I second guess my latest pants purchase for weeks. This guy killed someone and feels completely confident in it? Not even a, “I wish there could have been a non lethal option but there just wasn’t at the time.”?  Even soldiers who live in a daily, it’s them or me situation return home with difficulty coping with having to take a life and certainly for them it is not even a question- they had no other choice. But for Wilson it’s all perfectly clear? Believe it or not, I don’t blame Wilson for how the interview comes across. I’d be naive if I truly believed he wasn’t being told exactly what to say and how to say it. If you don’t think that this interview was practiced with him over and over again before he sat down then you need to wake up. Sadly, I doubt this gave the public any actual insight into what he is actually thinking about that day. If it is a true representation than that’s scary.

Living in Northeast Ohio I am also seeing a bombardment on both sides of the shooting of a 12 year old boy by a Cleveland cop. Again, I think about the family of the child and about the cop. Why is our society so unwilling to consider that maybe both are to blame. It has to be all the fault of one or the other? Of course, the boy should have done as he was told and put his hands up. He should not have been playing with a toy gun with the orange tip removed, obviously. But why don’t our cops have non lethal ways of dealing with a threat? Why does it have to be kill first ask questions later? I have great respect for police officers and I understand that they have a unique job that puts them in harm’s way and they need to be able to protect themselves. I would never take that away from them. However, you can protect yourself without the need to kill. But this is the only option they are being trained to do and being given. So, it is really their fault? It seems to me more like a system breakdown. Shouldn’t our police be trained how to protect citizens as well as themselves? It is starting to feel more and more like that isn’t the case. If a cop feels the least bit threatened the answer is to discharge their weapon. Again though, I have no doubt that this is their training. All you have to do is look at what is on their belt and how they are equipped. Military fatigues, M-16, tanks, mine resistant trucks and in the case of at least one police department a grenade launcher. I’m not lying, look it up. Can we blame the cops for going out on the streets and acting like they’re on tour in Fallujah?  Now, people are calling more and more for cops to wear body cameras, why? How is seeing how and why a 12 year old was killed a better answer than finding a way for the cop to be protected and the child to be alive? Wouldn’t it make more sense to demand that the whole training system be overhauled? Look, I don’t want it to be open season on our cops. I believe that it isn’t too much to find a way to train the police a way to keep themselves safe without first turning to lethal force. It doesn’t have to be them or us.

To me, this inability to find complexity in today’s events is not only sad but dangerous. More than one thing can be happening at a time, more than one person can be to blame in a tragedy like Ferguson or Cleveland. Being rabidly obsessed with only finding fault and assigning blame to one side or the other does little or nothing to prevent it from happening again. Americans need to open their eyes and their minds to more than one way of thinking and seeing things. Otherwise, we’ll be nothing than a teeter totter as the balance of power switches back and forth. We need to find balance and that is impossible without seeing and considering both sides.


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As the girls’ laughter wafted through the air Anna shifted uncomfortably in her sit, sliding her knees farther under the table until her belt buckle caught on the edge giving her a slight jab in the gut. Her stomach was already crawling its way up her throat and that didn’t help. She was just grateful it didn’t make any noise and no one seemed to notice.

Deciding it would be easier to pretend to be engrossed in her homework if she was actually doing her homework. She went about ignoring them no matter what animal like noises they started making next. Anna was slowly unzipping her backpack and quickly reaching for her biology book when the next big rush of cackling started. Urgently wishing her friends, Abby and Chrissy would hurry up and join her so she didn’t feel so alone. Where are they? Shouldn’t their classes be over by now? I hate sitting here alone like a loser. Flipping through the pages and settling on Chapter 5: Predator/Prey Relationships Anna couldn’t help rolling her eyes wondering why she’d ever need this information.

The food chain is an intricate system that is vital to all ecosystems. Larger, stronger and more aggressive predators consume smaller and weaker prey.

She tried to slyly peek over her left shoulder to confirm that the table in question indeed wasn’t paying her any mind. Are they laughing at me? Three of the girls, the blondes, were facing her most directly. She could see that their perfectly long hair, curled to perfection was perfectly resting on the table below where it perfectly caressed their perfectly sized and perfectly shaped breasts as the leaned forward, elbows on the table, so as to not have their juicy gossip overheard. Are they talking about me? They all suddenly screeched in delighted and threw themselves onto the backs of their chairs unable to contain their laughter. Anna quickly turned her head back around, dropping her chin to appear that she was enthralled with what she was reading and not, in fact, paying any attention to them. Oh crap, did they see me looking? Her back got hot as she became convinced that they had seen her watching. She was panicking, unsure if it would be better to turn around or continue to pretend she didn’t even know they were there. Just keep reading and don’t look up.

These weaker prey, however, are often actually stronger than some other creatures which are then its prey and so on and so on. Creating what it known as the food chain.

Anna’s mind was wandering as she began staring at the table in front of her with the two boys that always sat there together. They weren’t exactly the most popular although in some ways that wasn’t true. They weren’t popular because of no one liked them but everyone did know who they were, and avoided them. They were a little weird and usually not clean. Anna was stuck behind one in her history class she remembered and spent the term praying he wouldn’t turn around or try to talk to her; he never did. Thank goodness. She couldn’t imagine how they didn’t seem to care enough to stop being so odd. Just take a shower, wash your clothes and be normal; how hard is that? Shaking her head in disgust she went back to reading. What does any of this have to do with me?

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#100 Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Well, this is it, the last of my 100 recipes of summer. I thought I would never manage to find 100 new recipes but I did and I’m proud of myself for seeing it through. Any one who knows me knows that my dogs are my children and that I often make homemade treats for them. Since they are my babies I knew I’d have to include a new goody for them on this list.



15 oz pumpkin puree- NOT pumpkin pie filling

2 eggs

3 tablespoons natural peanut butter

1/2 cup oats

4 cups whole wheat flour


Whip together, pumpkin, eggs and peanut butter


Mix in oats and flour.


Roll out (you’ll need a floured surface and rolling pin) and cut into shapes


Bake 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.


This made 5 dozen for me. The puppies seems pretty excited about them so I’m guessing they’re pretty good and pumpkin is good for your dog!

They have to sit first.

They have to sit first.



Big Hit!


Thanks everyone for all the support and recipe ideas. I hope you found a few new meals too!

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#99 Lucky Charms Chex Mix


1 box (11.5 oz) Lucky Charms® cereal
6 cups Rice Chex® or Corn Chex® cereal
2 bags (12 oz each) white vanilla baking chips
1/4 cup multicolored candy sprinkles

  • Pour box of cereal out onto a large tray. Pick out all the marshmallows (about 2 cups); set aside to add to the mix later.


  • Measure 2 cups of the remaining Lucky Charms cereal (without the marshmallows) into large bowl, add Chex cereal.


  • Line cookie sheet with foil or waxed paper. Using a double boiler melt white chocolate until smooth.


  • Pour over cereal mixture in large bowl; toss to evenly coat. Spread mixture in single layer on cookie sheet.


  • Immediately sprinkle with candy sprinkles.


  • Let stand until set, about 20 minutes. Gently break up mixture; toss in reserved marshmallows. Store in airtight container.


This was both easy and really good. I’m wondering though if adding pretzel sticks for a little saltiness might be good.


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#98 Homemade Cream Soup Base


3 Tablespoons Butter (Fleishmann’s Unsalted is Lactose Free)

3 Tablespoons flour

1/2 cup chicken broth – can use vegetable broth

1/2 cup milk (can use Lactaid, soy, rice or coconut)

Makes equivalent to 1 can.


Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.


Slowly, Stir in flour; keep stirring until smooth and bubbly.


Remove from heat and add the chicken broth and milk, a little at a time, stirring to keep smooth. Return to heat. Bring sauce to a gentle boil; cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed to taste.



Use in casseroles in place of condensed cream soups. This cream soup base can be varied by using vegetable broth, sauteéd chopped celery, celery seed, or sauteéd chopped mushrooms. Add herbs and or seasonings, as desired.


I’m lactose intolerant and have found replacements for sour cream, milk, cream cheese, ice cream and even shredded cheese (Kraft is lactose free) but cream of chicken soup, which I use often, I have always just had to endure. I’m not sure what even made me think to look but two days ago I decided to look around online to see if there might be an alternative for me. I found this same recipe over and over again on numerous websites.

I decided it was worth a try. I used it with one of our favorite meals so I knew what store bought tasted like in it and could compare it to my homemade version. I was very pleased. Neither of us could tell a difference. Finally! I’m thrilled with this little discovery. I just wish I would have done this at the beginning of my 100 recipes instead of the end. I’ll never buy it again.


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#97 Mexican Chicken and Rice


      2 can fat free cream chicken soup
      2 cans water
      1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
      1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies
      1 1/2 c instant rice
      1 pkg taco seasoning
      2-4 pounds frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
                  1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 350.
Coat a 13×9 inch glass casserole dish with cooking spray
In a medium bowl, whisk together the soups, water and taco seasoning, then pour into the bottom of the dish.
Sprinkle the rice over the soups, then place the chicken breasts (still frozen) on top.
Pour the beans and tomatoes over the chicken.
Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour, 40 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle shredded cheese over to melt and bake another 10 minutes.
This turned out really well. I think next time I’ll add a little less water and cube up the chicken.


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#96 Ranch Cheeseball



1 Tablespoon sour cream

1 packet dry ranch dressing

8 oz cream cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes- form into ball.


You can coat with crushed pecans or bacon pieces. I decided to leave it as is. I thought it was really good but Dan found the ranch dressing a little strong. I think it might be easier to in formed more in a log than a ball.


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