Abuse ends when you love yourself – a codependents guide dog to recovery

Sue and me NYNew blog to follow: Abuse ends when you love yourself 

My dearest friend, Sue Hickey was my therapist during my years of abuse. She is the reason I not only recovered, but flourished in ways I didn’t know were possible.  Sue was my guide dog and I have given myself the title of Poster Child for Recovery.

And so today we find ourselves amongst the forests of the Berkshires and this time we are working together to create a self-help manual called Abuse ends when you love yourself – A codependents guide dog to recovery. I am the proof of how Sue’s wisdom, insights and patience gave me a life I didn’t know I could dream of. Abuse ends when you love yourself will be ready for release on the 11/11/2014. By the way the date was chosen with intention.

Please follow our blog abuseendswhenyouloveyourself.com

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This is what happened when I rephrased a Larry David line on a dating website

IMG_1017 “Persuade me that dating won’t remind me how much I appreciate being alone.”

A letter to Larry David

After three marriages, four divorces and a funeral, the last thing I wanted was another husband. My sons thought otherwise and it irritated them that I refused to date and was quite content getting into bed each night with my miniature Yorkie with whom I emigrated from South Africa eleven years ago.

“Who do you think you are that you refuse to go on a dating site?” my boys asked repetitively. “How are you going to meet anyone? Osho will die soon (my dog) and we don’t want to be around when that happens. Find someone!” they instructed.

Since I don’t really care what anyone’s opinion is of me except my sons, I reluctantly gave in and signed up on Match.com. I refused though to fill out a lengthy description of myself except the bare minimum words required by the website and a few photographs. Anyway, I thought that borrowing your line said it all. Engagement party

So, the emails poured in. It didn’t matter that I selected men between the ages of forty- nine to fifty- nine and educated (didn’t think I needed to clarify English should be their first language but after reading the reams of drivel it appeared I did). I received countless requests from men aged twenty-four to eighty, where most didn’t know that I was a capital letter or that a period ended a sentence. And then I received The One; who not only knew punctuation but also wrote in poetry. He also looked rather attractive even though the picture was a bit fuzzy but his description read that he had blue eyes and blonde hair. The rest of his profile fit my search criteria perfectly. Tall, exercised regularly, educated, not religious and had a sense of humor. The description of his business was also impressive. It was a resort in the South Pacific where guests swam with hump back whales. I was elated to find such a catch on cyberspace.

For a week we wrote each other countless emails and each of his I re-read enthralled that I had found a man who wrote so well. He didn’t write corny Limericks but real Yeats kind of poetry. He explained that he was in Dallas visiting family and he called on the Saturday morning and asked if I would fly there and meet him. He had his family’s annual picnic the next day and wanted me to attend. Flattered by the invitation but hesitant, I asked where I would spend the night, making it clear it would not be with him. He said he would arrange for me to stay at a hotel.

The year before, I flew to Bangkwang prison in Thailand to see a guy from school who was given a life sentence. If I could fly to Bangkok for the day, why not Dallas? This was just the kind of adventure that appealed to me. He offered to send a ticket. I agreed and hastily packed to make the 2pm flight from LAX.

He arranged to pick me up from the airport and go directly to dinner. Wanting to impress him, I dressed in black leather pants, a black t-shirt, and peep toe suede boots. I tamed my curls with a curling iron and off I went to meet Mr. Right in Dallas.

I walked briskly off the plane with my overnight bag and stopped quickly to check my make up. As I walked through the doors to the baggage area, a man rose from a chair – with a service dog! I gulped. Don’t be so superficial, I scolded myself. What is wrong with you? So he has a service dog. Don’t be so bloody critical. I forced a smile and put my hand out to shake his but the eyes that met mine were glazed and blood-shot and peered out of yellowish tinged skin with popped veins on his bulbous nose and sunken cheeks. His hair may have been blonde once when there was enough to determine the color. All that remained were oily strands of stringy tufts. He was dressed in baggy khaki trousers and a matching shirt that draped over a formless body that hadn’t seen exercise since the day he crawled. The insipid hand that shook mine was limp, wet and weak. Serves you right, my normal side screamed as I smiled with strained politeness. He didn’t have a single redeeming feature.

Book LB         As he limped towards me a look of disbelief must have crossed my face because he immediately explained that he didn’t have a foot. “Oh,” I said more out of shock than sympathy. As he walked next to me, the noise of his prosthesis drowned out any conversation. I never knew they made a squelching, squeaking racket but then I had never met anyone without a foot. Who knew I should have been more specific in my search criteria?

On the drive to the restaurant, I looked out at Dallas with pretended interest to save myself from looking at him. But I couldn’t help myself and stole glances. Each observation made him more repulsive.

He parked the car in a busy shopping area and I dreaded having to walk beside him with the grating sound of his prosthesis. It sounded like bones crunching. Seated opposite him forced me to look at him. It was impossible not to dissect each of his walking dead features. The running commentary of how dumb I was to have agreed to this trip ran on a continual loop in my head.

He pontificated all through dinner. He barely took a breath as he spoke about himself, or subjects that were of no interest and stories that had no point. I felt I had undergone a personality bypass in that I had no desire to say a thing. At one point he asked if I was shy that I didn’t talk.

“Well if you ask a question, I’ll respond.” I said but the message eluded him and he continued his endless, tedious, and skull numbing soliloquy.

The only way I coped was to zone him out and watch his lips move over his slash of a mouth. Every sentence he punctuated with his arms outstretched in wide circular movements while still holding onto his knife and fork. Any time a waiter passed I held my breath that he didn’t poke out their eyes. I couldn’t take another minute and didn’t care how obvious I was each time I looked at my watch. As he took his last mouth full I told him I was tired and needed to go to wherever he had booked me a room. We walked back to the car and the squelching was no less shocking.

He had arranged for me to stay in a guest suite at his mother’s retirement village. He couldn’t find it and got lost a number of times. When he eventually did, I grabbed the door handle, jumped out of the car with my overnight bag and didn’t wait for him as he limped and squeaked behind me.

He checked me in, picked up the key and insisted on walking me to my room. He said we were to have breakfast with his mother at eleven the following morning and the family picnic was right after.

“OK,” I said, knowing I had no intention of going to either. When we arrived at the door, I snatched the key out of his hand, inserted it in the lock and opened it. I jumped inside, said goodbye and slammed it shut. I locked and double locked the door not caring how loud my message was heard. One thing I had learned from my last life of chronic codependency was that I would never again place a man’s feelings above my own discomfort. I’m sure I was that deranged that I would never have considered leaving and hurt his feelings. I was so cured from that affliction.

I immediately checked what time the first flight was back to LA. It was at 7am. I had a shower, tried to get some sleep which was impossible and called reception to find out which cab company to use. I also had no idea where I was and asked for the address.

I arranged for a cab to pick me up at 5am. When the cab driver called to say he was outside, I grabbed my bag and ran down the corridor but had no idea which direction the elevator was. The hallways seemed to go on forever and I became more and more agitated. There was no end to the torture I had inflicted on myself. I had visions of the man catching me escape or worse, the cab driver would leave me stranded. I tried to call his cell phone but there was no signal. Hysterical, tearful and filled with self loathing that I got myself into this mess I ran not knowing where I was going. The place was so huge it felt like a maze with no exits. I wanted to scream. I kept hitting the redial to the cab driver and eventually it went through. I told him I was lost and couldn’t get out of the building and begged him to wait. He agreed. Relieved at the available help I ran from one wrong door to another, dripping with sweat. Finally I found the exit and ran out towards my savior.

I couldn’t stop thanking him for waiting and told him to take me to the airport. Surprised that I had a shred of decency left, I reached for my cell phone and sent a text, “I’ve gone back to LA.” I immediately blocked his email address and phone number. I sank back against the seat, congratulating myself that I escaped from having to endure another minute of misery.

The sun hadn’t risen yet and the free way was empty but noticed that the driver drove at a snail’s pace. Irritated that he deliberately drove slowly to increase his fare, I was still relieved that with each mile, it was a mile further away from the date from hell. As we approached the airport, I told him to drop me off at American Airlines. He asked in broken East European English what terminal it was.

“I have no idea what terminal it is. Why don’t you know?” He knew to drive slowly. He should bloody well know the terminal. He didn’t. I called AA and was told terminal 2. I relayed the message and pointed out the exit but he missed it and then realized that he barely understood English. I did what most dumb people do when trying to force a foreigner to understand. I spoke louder and slower and the louder I spoke the more he grunted incoherently. We drove around and around the airport but he missed the turnoff each time and any control I had disappeared. I screamed, I swore and sounded like a dock whore as I threatened to call his cab company. He continued to grunt unintelligently and I called them hysterical that I would miss my flight and threatened that I wouldn’t pay his fare.

“He’s an independent contractor so we have no authority over him,” was her quiet response to my hysterical ramblings. I clicked off the phone and continued to scream “American Airlines terminal two” interspersed with fucks.  He veered off the road and entered a parking structure that only made me more hysterical as he drove higher and higher up the spiral driveway.

“What the fuck are you doing? Get out of here immediately. What the fuck are you doing in this parking structure?” I repeated like a mantra punctuating each fuck with more aggression. Was there no end to this nightmare? I didn’t stop screaming until he found the way out and as he reached the freeway, he stopped the car in the middle of the road. He got out and waved his hands to stop the traffic. Cars screeched on either side as a shuttle bus came to a stop beside us.

The cab driver shouted, “Where are the planes, the planes?” in his heavy East European accent.

“The planes?” the shuttle driver asked in an effeminate voice made more obvious against the thick guttural accent of the cab driver.

“He doesn’t speak English and doesn’t know where American Airlines is,” I shouted over the cars whizzing by.

“Terminal 2,” he said.

“I keep telling him that but he won’t listen.”

All three of us started shouting at once but over the screeching cars nothing was audible.

“Terminal 2.” I repeated over and over to the cab driver who finally got back in the car. I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote in big letters, TERMINAL 2. He drove off, I pointed at the turnoff shouting “terminal 2” but he drove straight by.

“Just drop me off anywhere at the airport. I don’t care what terminal. Just drop me off,” I screamed.

As he drove by a terminal building, I shouted for him to stop and grabbed the door. I opened it, flew out, opened the trunk, grabbed my overnight bag and started walking away. He jumped out and came after me asking for his money.

“Fuck you and your money. You don’t deserve a penny after what you put me through,” I said over my shoulder as I began to run.

He ran after me, I ran faster waving my arms to stop a bus driving towards me. It was the same driver who had stopped on the freeway.

“Please help me.” I begged. “He’s after me because I refuse to pay him after what he did to me.”

“Get in quickly,” he said. “I’ve never been asked in my whole life where the planes are,” he said in his sing-song wonderfully gay tone. We both burst out laughing as I hauled my carry on up the steps and the door closed as the cab driver reached the window. I sat down between two other men who stared open-mouthed at the scene unfolding before them.

The cab driver stood in front of the bus with his arms outstretched, and refused to allow us to move.

“I’ll call 911,” I shouted to the driver as we remained hostage. He continued his tirade that I owed him money and I shouted back that I didn’t as I dialed the number.

“911 what is your emergency?”

“I’m at the airport and just had an altercation with a cab driver. He barely speaks English, got lost a number of times after taking me into a parking structure as he had no idea where the American terminal was.  I eventually got out, ran away from him and managed to wave a shuttle bus down but now he’s standing in front of us and won’t allow the driver to move,” I got out in one breath.

“What terminal are you at? I’ll send police to help you.” Her calm voice only made my breathless run on sound even more disjointed.

“What terminal are we at?” I shouted to the driver.

“Terminal 1,” he shouted back and the two men in the bus still hadn’t changed their frozen positions.

I relayed the message to the operator.

“He’s getting back in his cab,” the driver shouted out. I repeated this to the operator.

As we drove off the driver shouted that he was following us.

“He’s following us,” I screamed at the operator.

“What terminal is the driver going to?” she asked. “We will have police meet you there.”

I repeated this to the driver and again relayed the message to the operator.

“Stay on the phone with me until you reach the terminal and the police are with you,” she said.

I was so in love with America at that moment at how efficient and caring they were compared to what would have happened in South Africa. The last time I was there newspaper headlines warned people not to listen if stopped by police as they were lead by gun point to ATM machines.

“Is he following you?” she asked.

“Is he following us?” I shouted to the driver as I looked out the back window but it was difficult to see amongst the car headlights.

“We don’t know. There are too many cars”

“OK, stay with me until you get to the terminal. Police are already waiting for you.”

I held onto the phone and the driver asked what had happened. The more details I revealed the higher his voice pitched and we both began to giggle. He announced that we had arrived at AA and once again I relayed the message to the operator.

Two large police men walked towards us as the doors opened and I thanked the driver profusely.

I kept looking over my shoulder to see if we were followed but couldn’t see him. As I reached the policemen, I repeated what happened barely taking a breath. They walked me into the terminal building and waited until I had my boarding pass. They never left my side until I passed through security.

All I could think about on the way home was getting into a hot bath and washing away the stench of my trip. Debbie does Dallas kept popping into my head for no apparent reason. Never do Dallas was my automatic response.

After I hugged Osho and soaked in a hot bath I climbed into bed with him. The tension from my escape and the airport fiasco exhausted me. But then I started to laugh. The part that I had blocked out was what he had told me over dinner. He had genital warts and was euphoric to have found a website for singles with STD’s

“I’m a selfish bastard and refuse to wear condoms,” he explained.

Oh, how endearing. If one foot wasn’t bad enough did he think genital warts would make him more attractive? And what did they do on the website? Swop diseases? I didn’t dare imagine what else must have lurked between his genital warts. That’s probably why he looked like death.

I removed my profile from Match.

Posted in abuse, codependency, dating, domestic violence, food, relationships | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Oscar Pistorious – The South African judicial system deeply flawed

IMG_0003As a South African who has gone through the SA judicial system when my ex husband, also a celebrity in an abuse case, highlighted how inept and corrupt the judicial system is. Working with the Supreme Court where I was their chief witness, took nearly four years before the case was brought to trial. The reason for this was that the docket often went “missing” from the police station from where it was to be delivered. It was only after I flew from Los Angeles to SA and personally picked up the file from the Supreme Court, handed it to the chief police officer in his area, and had the policeman in charge of the delivery of the summons on the phone all the while he drove to his house that he was charged.

Copy of hospital record states,“Bitten inside mouth, bites on inside of upper and lower lips.”

When the case finally reached court, the prosecution canceled all witnesses including expert witnesses and he was acquitted.  They also refused to present evidence of the two assault charges laid against him, hospital records or a letter he wrote where he admitted he was a monster. They refused to offer any explanation as to why they deliberately lost the case.

Abuse cases are seldom won in SA. South Africa boasts one of the best domestic violence laws in the world yet do not have the means to implement them. When I worked in the domestic violence court in Johannesburg, it was run by two men who also dealt with licensing and noise abatement. The restraining order forms the women needed to fill out were kept in separate piles along the floor and they were forced to bend down and pick them up. More often than not the restraining orders were not delivered as the men bribed the police officers.

Bribery and corruption in SA is the norm. Rarely do traffic officers issue tickets as they first ask for a bribe. Last December people were warned against police who stopped drivers and demanded money. The government set up a special task force a few years ago, called the Scorpions, to weed out corrupion in the police force. They were disbanded as they proved to be as corrupt as the police.

The President himself was charged with rape a few years ago but was acquitted. The crowd threw stones at a woman at court believing she was the accuser. After the case, she  was forced to seek asylum in Holland. The case drew further controversy when the President, who headed the National AIDS council knew that the victim had AIDS. His explanation was that he took a shower afterwards.

It will be a huge surprise if Reeva Steenkamp  receives justice.


Left: Police record of second assault charge; “Assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.”

Right: Copy of letter he sent where the first two lines read, “You’re right, I did behave like an absolute monster.”

Posted in abuse, codependency, domestic violence, relationships | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Perhaps Mitt’s problem is that he’s a codependent?

Curried vegetables with Aji Verde

Curried vegetables with Aji Verde


Pleased to Meet Myself http://bit.ly/A6RMEi

I was on my way to meet my fabricator for lunch yesterday in South Central when I heard the latest update on the Romney campaign.  I almost swerved into oncoming traffic as the newscaster revealed that Romney was still supporting Richard Mourdock after his outrageous and insane remarks about abortion.

There had to be a plausible explanation why a seemingly intelligent man would support a crazed lunatic. Nothing I could think of made any sense. Obviously there was something  seriously wrong with him that he was willing to go to such extreme lengths for love and approval. And then I got it. He had to be a codependent. Only codependents go to extreme lengths to gain love and approval. He displayed all the symptoms; his willingness to become anyone anybody wanted him to be, his desperate need to please others,  his willingness to contort himself into a pretzel and contribute to his own debasement, his willingness to expend an inordinate amount of effort and energy to achieve this goal, and his limitless patience while he waited for the ultimate codependent reward – approval. Mitt, as a codependent in recovery I understand the long road you have ahead of you. You have my sympathy, just not my vote.

Thankfully, the bitter taste this left in my mouth was taken away by the wonderful Peruvian lunch I had. I had never eaten Peruvian food and was blown away by the cilantro soup and the Aji Verde which is a Peruvian sauce drizzled over everything. On my way home, I couldn’t resist stopping by the supermarket for the ingredients. Just loved that the taste lingered and cancelled out the the nauseating taste of Mourdock’s remarks.

Aji Verde

  1. 3 cups romaine or iceberg lettuce
  2. 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  3. jalapenos (I used 2 and it still wasn’t spicy enough so added washed and drained bottled jalapenos)
Aji Verde

Aji Verde

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Strain through a sieve if you want it to be extra smooth. I didn’t as I couldn’t wait another minute to eat it.

I had made a pot of curried vegetables the day before with whole wheat rice and drizzled the Aji Verde over it. Was absolutely delicious and just what my taste buds and psyche needed.

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When a recovered codependent starts dating.

Best ever  popovers

Best ever popovers

Pleased To Meet Myself http://bit.ly/A6RMEi

After my last round in the ring with a codependent marriage I swore I would not look at a man until I had freed myself of all my codependency traits. That was three years ago and thought it was time to break out of my self imposed exile. I was ready to test my recovery.

It is often said in Al-anon that the best way to check how far we have come is to look back and see from where we began. From years of not being able to spend a minute alone, I now love my own company. In fact, I am so busy having conversations with myself I often don’t want to be interrupted and so I took on the dating challenge with a totally new perspective. Before I was obsessed with wanting to save and be saved. Those relationships were cringe worthy. But dating was still daunting and that’s without throwing codependency tests into the mix. I was reminded of the line from When Harry Met Sally. When Sally’s friend hitched up with Harry’s she burst out with relief, “Thank God I don’t have to go out there.” I was going out there.

I was so out of touch with dating as the last date I went on one was ten years ago when I met my last husband. He was Piggy in a Blanket in my book and wondered  how many piggy’s I would  have to meet before a Prince came along. And by Prince, I mean a Knight in Shining Armani not the other kind. But more important he had to be kind, curious, and be a minimum height of 5’11”. My five inch heels demanded a tall man.  My codependency may well be over but my superficiality was still intact.

But where would I meet him? The only places I frequented daily were supermarket aisles, the Santa Monica stairs and the fabric district downtown. I was reminded of the story Paula Dean told when she started dating again. She asked God to please send her a man but he would have to be close by since she only ever she went to her restaurant and her home. A short while later a man showed up at end of her block and after one look at him she said, “Oh God, please don’t tell me you sent him.” She landed up marrying him. Since I’m not that convinced there is a God and if there is would like to think he has more important things to do than run my errands, I never bothered to seek his help. Instead, and with great reluctance I took the only option available – joined a dating site. It took every bit of courage to do so.

With great reluctance I uploaded a photograph but couldn’t bring myself to fill out the sales pitch nor any of the other details that were required. As fast as the responses filled my inbox, I hit delete. The men either couldn’t spell, didn’t know that “I” was a capital and for the most part couldn’t string a sentence together. And English was their first language?

I left for Toronto a week after I registered and received an e-mail from the first man who could spell and was also rather witty. His photograph reminded me of Don Johnson and was thrilled that he stated his height to be 5’11.” Internet dating wasn’t so bad after all.  Having established that he wasn’t an addict of any kind I agreed to give him my number.  It felt weird to be back in circulation. After a number of flirtatious banters over the telephone, he offered to fly from LA to meet me. The romantic in me was charmed and my wayward ego was stroked.

I picked him up from the airport and as I drove up to the curb my heart sank. He didn’t look anything like his photograph. His picture had to be at least ten years old and he certainly wasn’t 5’11.” He was closer to 5’9.” Did he think I was blind and wouldn’t notice the passage of time or that I towered above him? I felt cornered. If I went along out of politeness it was too close to pleasing and that just scratched at the scabs of my codependency. I had no idea what to do. Before I broke out into obnoxious behavior I drove straight to my son and instructed him and his wife to spend the evening with us.

What was I thinking when I agreed that he visit for three days? I really had to raise the bar with men – not being an addict should be a given not a reason to applaud and award special treatment. Why didn’t I just agree to coffee when I got back to LA? Three days! I wanted to kick myself. And the worst part was that I began to second guess myself.  He was interesting to talk to, had a wonderful sense of humor, and there wasn’t a subject on which he wasn’t knowledgeable. Yet I wasn’t in the least bit attracted to him. What was wrong with me? And could I even trust what I was attracted to given the list of dreadful men from my past? Maybe this was what it was like when there was no drama from an addict, no one to save and no on one for whom to work? Perhaps this was what normal felt like after years of normalizing the abnormal?  Was I still a codependent craving the adrenalin fix? I had no idea what to think, what was real, what was imagined or what was masked by my superficial needs. I was reminded of what Robin Norwood wrote in Letter’s from Women Who Love Too Much where she described how difficult it was for a recovered codependent to love. I thought it was this discomfort she described and was encouraged to plod along. The night before he left he asked to kiss me. “Definitely not,”I blurted out.  We must have had the same expressions of shock. His from my refusal and mine from the thought.

I saw him a couple of times back in LA before I left for a trip to South Africa and continued to berate myself for being so superficial. He was smart, funny, sweet, kind and curious. Yet I recoiled each time he came near me. Had codependency killed my sexuality? I questioned every instinct that surfaced not knowing which ones to take notice of or ignore. Did it mean I was still a codependent because I had a visceral reaction towards him? Could it be true that I was still attracted to addicts? I was relieved when I left for South Africa and didn’t have to deal with it.

While I was away he sent an Anthony Wiener photograph of himself and that put paid to all my misgivings. As I opened it I gasped.  He posed in front of a mirror in a thong and the only other piece of clothing he wore was a hunting hat with the words “done hunting” as the caption. Codependency had nothing to do with my revulsion and I had no need to question my recovery. My instincts were spot on.

The day I returned home he arrived unannounced in the middle of my unpacking. With clothes strewn everywhere he ignored me when I explained I was jet lagged and needed to get settled.  In disbelief I watched him remove his trousers. “What are you doing?’ I shrieked. He was hot, he responded in a matter of fact tone and proceeded to go and lie down on my bed. I froze. My recovery ran through my mind like a video. As codependents we have an inability to say no and also have to learn how to say no faster. Never again, I had promised myself, would I contort myself into a pretzel to please a man, or place a man’s feelings above my own. Without hesitation I walked into the bedroom and threw him out.

I was truly recovered.

The best thing that came out of this incident were the popovers they served at the dinner that night at Jacob’s and Co. Here is the recipe.

Unbaked popovers filled to the top of popover cups

Unbaked popovers filled to the top of popover cups


  • 1 cup milk, heated
  • 8 eggs
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbls salt

Cheese for sprinkling the tops of the popovers

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Beat the four ingredients in a mix master for 15 minutes. Fill popover cups with batter, sprinkle with cheese of choice (Gruyere, cheddar or Parmesan) and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake for a further 20 minutes.



Posted in abuse, domestic violence, food, relationships | 7 Comments

Article from Thesucculentwife.com

As featured in TheSucculentWife.com

As featured in TheSucculentWife.com

Pleased To Meet Myself http://bit.ly/H49DXV

25 March 2012 Leave a Comment

Raised to believe that a man needed to look after a woman and that, as her mother used to tell her, ‘single women have no status’, Philippa Sklaar felt that any man was better than no man. If a man looked after her, she owed him. So, for financial security and, admittedly, her relationship addiction, Philippa tolerated abuse, became whoever her husband wanted her to be and lost herself along the way. Her book, Pleased to Meet Myself is aimed at women who suffer from the belief that having anybody is better than nobody and who depend on a relationship to validate their worth.

Although Philippa never knew how to cook when she married for the first time, she soon realized that the kitchen would become her sanctuary. As she states in her book, “instead of hiding under the duvet in a suicidal spin or creating something scrumptious in the kitchen, the kitchen always won.”

This book explores the journey to herself, the men, including four husbands, that accompanied her along the way and the valuable lessons learned. Since cooking was one way in which she coped, these men, in the book, are named after ingredients and each chapter ends with a Food for Thought section of musings or lessons learned, a list of questions for the reader and the recipes for each dish mentioned.

Philippa states, that “nourishing our stomachs is as important as nourishing our souls.” And this book does both. Her blog, PleasedToMeetMyself highlights topics of codependency with each post ending with a recipe. It is a beautiful collage of story-telling, recipes and photos – a true feast for the eyes, stomach and soul.

Philippa has been a model, designed her own clothing line and became an accomplished caterer but most importantly she found her true self and loved what she saw.

Pleased to Meet Myself is available in paperback on Amazon and also on Kindle for $2.99. A portion of the sales will go towards the fight against domestic violence.

If you would like to share your story, need advice, a recipe or just to know that you are not alone, you can connect with Philippa Sklaar on Facebook.

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Just because you’re worth it!

Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad


Pleased  To  Meet  Myself http://bit.ly/A6RMEi

There’s nothing more rewarding than working out the perfect recipe to indulge my high maintenance taste buds. Especially when the disappointment escalates each time a restaurant fails to deliver. With laser like determination the kitchen becomes my laboratory where I work out the perfect ingredients. There’s no letting up when my taste buds demand placating. Chinese Chicken Salad was one of those dishes. There wasn’t a restaurant  in LA that left me with any satisfaction – in fact, the only feelings I had were  irritation and annoyance that they fell so short. The dressing was either too sweet or not sweet enough, the crunchy noodles were often store bought out of a packet (yeuch) but worse were the canned mandarins – they lay limply in an orange mass of goo around the top.

One bite of my version and my taste buds danced with delight. And just so you know – fixing a meal is far easier and more satisfying than fixing a man. Now make it – just because you’re worth it!

Chinese Chicken Salad

1 packet rice sticks * roast chicken, skinned, de-boned and flaked * bunch scallions *1 English cucumber, chopped *4 T sesame seeds, toasted *1 pkt flaked almonds, toasted * 1 pkt Ramen noodles * romaine lettuce, roughly chopped *oil for deep frying *cilantro

Heat a saucepan with oil to measure about 2-3 inches. Test with a small rice stick. If it puffs up immediately, the oil is the correct temperature. Break the rice sticks into manageable portions and deep fry. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Break up the Ramen noodles and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Place the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl except the almonds, sesame seeds and Ramen noodles and toss with the dressing. Pile on individual plates or one large platter, scatter with crispy noodles, sesame seeds and toasted almonds. Scatter a few leaves of cilantro, drizzle a little more dressing and serve.

Sweet and Sour Peanut Dressing

1 cup oil * 1/2 cup vinegar * 1/2 cup sugar * 1/4 cup soy sauce *2 tsp mustard powder *1 T peanut butter *dash of salt and black pepper

Whisk all together.

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