Sally in the Zen

Confessions of a Befuddled Zen Buddhist

A Bunch of Nuts

We were at our favorite farm over the weekend again, picking apples and enjoying the day.  While we were wandering around, I came across this.

Which started me pondering on a truly intriguing question.


What kind of nuts are we?

Zen Master = Banana nut bread.

Zen Mum = White chocolate macadamia nut cookie.

Me = Peanut chew!

That’s exactly right.  We’re a bunch of nuts.

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Favorite Pastime

It had been such a beautiful day on Monday, we decided to visit our favorite farm, Baugher’s.  When Pick-Your-Own opens with the strawberry season every year in May, Zen Master, Zen Mum and I are there on most weekends, enjoying the fresh air and the farm fresh goodies.

And today we’re talking apples.  Apple season just started, and usually runs from September thru October. 

As soon as we get there, we jump on a ride on the tractor that takes us to the apple orchards.

During pumpkin season in October, this tractor will be filled with hay, becoming a cool hayride for folks.

But today, we’re sitting on top of wooden crates and looking out at the pumpkin patches.  We’ll be back in October to pick our pumpkins!

But in the meantime, we’re looking at the apples.

The first apple orchard we race into is McIntosh.  McIntosh is just one of the various apples they grow, and as the season continues, we’ll get to taste sweet Golden Delicious and tart Granny Smith in awhile.  For the McIntosh, we’ve been advised that we should pick the red ones, because the redder the sweeter. 

And the green ones are still McIntosh apples, but not quite ripe.

But these are!

Zen Mum loves apples. 

But then again, so does Zen Master.  I went looking for him and found him here, trying to find the best apple.

And when he does, he gets quite excited about it!

He wasn’t expecting my camera in his face, so he took it and sent me to pick my own cotton-pickin’ apples. 

 Now how do you like them apples?

Lovely McIntosh and Jonathan apples!  And what we had for dessert last night was an even lovelier apple tart cake.

Life is good.

Note:  Baugher’s is a wonderful pastime for us and I just wanted to share this with you.  We’re not getting paid one penny from them for writing this.  Just so we’re clear.

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Afterword: Busted

Afterword to Busted:

Zen Master:  “Going 50 mph doesn’t even feel like we’re moving.”

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Preface:  Zen Master and I both have a Toyota Rav4, which we use interchangeably on rare occasions.


A speeding ticket just arrived in the mail.

Effective October 1, 2009, Maryland passed a law that authorized the use of a program called the Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) in Work Zones.  It essentially uses hidden cameras to catch speedsters in construction work zones on roadways. 

The “citation” had three photos showing: 

  1. The entire car.
  2. The rear of the car.
  3. A close-up of the license plate of the car.

The cost of the citation:  $40.00.

Posted speed limit in the construction zone:  50 mph.

Vehicle speed in the construction zone:  62 mph.

To put it mildly, Zen Master was quite unhappy with me. 

“How many times do I have to tell you that you shouldn’t speed?”  He glared at me, his bald head shining under the kitchen light.  “Forty dollars is not funny!  I’ve read in the newspaper that the fees could be at least a couple hundred dollars!”

We both stared at the photos on the citation. 

“And why were you on the highway when you should have been at work?  What were you doing?”

I couldn’t remember.  I actually checked my day planner and I saw nothing that would have taken me out of work at that date and time of the violation.  What the heck?

And then I noticed the color of the car.

“It’s not even my car!”  I said as I waved the citation at him.  “Zen Master, you need to slow down, you road demon.  Forty dollars is no joke!”

Nothing gets pass us.  Just so we’re clear.

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Why I Blog

Many years ago, I was visiting family in New York City.  While at my grandmother’s house, I made my way to the basement.  In the back of the basement was an impromptu recreational area, with free weights in one place and a computer workstation in another.  But what I was interested in was the PlayStation console that sat on the floor near a small couch nestled in the corner of the basement.

While I was perusing the game deck on the desk, a movement caught my eye.  And it was then that I met Buster, my cousin’s dog.  I don’t remember what kind of dog he was, but he was small, like a terrier.  Maybe he was a terrier.  I had no clue.

In those days, I really wasn’t a dog person.  Cats were my dope, and they still are.  Dogs really didn’t do anything for me. 

But Buster was unlike most dogs I’d come across.  For one thing, he was quite calm.  No yapping or snapping at my feet.  And he looked at me with such knowing eyes.  Maybe he knew that I wasn’t a dog person and he chilled out just for me.  I respected him for that.

For the next few hours, Buster sat with me as I played video games.  And sometimes I found myself talking to him and he would sometimes grunt or snort in response.  At first, he sat a few feet from me, but over time, he inched his way towards me until he sat right next to my feet.  He was a smooth operator.

My brother came down to find me and Buster in the dark, heartily playing PlayStation, completely oblivious that it had turned into evening.  There was a gathering of friends and family topside, and I wasn’t paying it any mind.

“God, you’re so anti-social!”  My brother said as he snapped on the lights.  “You came all the way from Maryland just to sit here and play video games?  Come upstairs!  Socialize!”

I looked at Buster and he looked at me.  I tell you, if I could’ve taken him at that moment, I’d have snatched him up and taken him home with me. 

But instead I gave him a pat on his little head and made my way upstairs.

But what my brother had said stuck with me.  And he was 100% right.  I am at my most happiest in relatively solitary activities, with my usual company being Zen Master and Zen Mum.  So in the subsequent years, I self-reflected and worked on my appalling social skills. 

You’ll be happy to know that they’re still appalling.  But the difference is that now I am at peace with it. 

I am friendly but I still don’t truly socialize.  Making small talk is a big accomplishment for me because I never did.  Sometimes I still find myself struggling with it but I deal.  It’s all about baby steps, right?

And then I started this blog.

I have been a lurker of food blogs, and have been one for years.  I realize now that I am essentially “playing video games alone in the basement” again. 

It’s time for me to go topside again, but this time I wish I had Buster with me.

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Hands in Motion

This is Zen Mum.

The quiet one.  

While she listens more than she speaks, her hands are always a’running. 

She’s a knitting and crocheting machine.

This is usually what happens.  One day it was her project, and the next, it became my bed spread.

 It’s pretty. 

 And this one, which she uses as her own bed cover.


 And these booties on my feet.   I came home one day and found them waiting on my bed.

Don’t mind my red shorts at the bottom of the picture.

And don’t even get me started on all the hats and scarves that she has stowed away in the closet.

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Zen Master and Zen Mum

I have been an amateur Zen Buddhist for almost eight years now, with absolutely no formal training whatsoever.  It was on the eve of Chinese New Year when I had the epiphany.  I was in the kitchen with my folks when the light bulb lit up in my head.  Dad saw “it” and he knew what had happened.  Without me saying a word, he just knew.  And he became my Zen Master.

While Dad has always been Buddhist, Mom has always been Catholic but she can’t remember the last time she went to church.  Both were cooks in Mom & Pop shops for as long as I can remember, and they retired over three years ago.  Now they both work part-time in the cafeteria of public schools.

When friends and family hear that we all live under the same roof, it’s comforting to hear their support. 

“Oh my God, really?”

“Oh my goodness, you have such patience!”

“You are such a good daughter!”

“I wouldn’t be able to do it.  I need my space.”

“There goes your sex life.”

Originally from New York, we ultimately migrated and settled in Baltimore, Maryland.  Zen Master has never pushed his religion on me or my brother while we were growing up.  He was too busy bringing home the bacon in those days.  But I knew enough to understand that God is good and Heaven is the place to be. 

Zen Master doesn’t preach; he lectures.  He lectures about everything.  Taxes are too high.  Inflation stinks.  Common courtesy to everyone is forefront, especially to our elders.  Eating salmon without capers is just wrong. 

So by the time I had my epiphany, it was a foregone conclusion.  I think I’ve always been a Zen Buddhist but I never really thought much about it growing up. 

Now I pay attention. 


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Yesterday Zen Master, Zen Mum and I went up to New York City for the day.  While we were visiting with family, I had the luck of running into my cousin, Kenny.  Some time back I had asked him for caricatures of us and I was able to finally get them from him.


I actually thought I was a bit more sexier than this, but obviously that was just a figment of my imagination.

Zen Mum, Me, and Zen Master

This is his little gem to my request for a family portrait.

And the artist for these cuties…


He prefers being behind the camera rather than in front, but he begrudgingly stood still when I asked him for his picture.

Sorry, ladies, he’s engaged. 

And speaking of engagement, I forgot to tell him that if I were to ever get married, I would be asking him to do my invitations.

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