Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
I came across this quote a few days ago and found it quite thought provoking.
Moving constantly as a child and young adult taught me to expect new people and places, new sights and sounds and of course the challenge of figuring out my new environment.
I do not have any lifelong friends, you know- that best friend from gradeschool or whenever that happens. I am not even that close to most of my siblings to be honest, though I do count my husband ,mother and a sister as my best friends.
I have learned to be funny and charming, instantly likeable to most of the world and at the same time to not invest too much in that world because I know that anything can and does happen.
I realized several years ago that this place was getting too familiar to me. The people I see out and about have become familiar faces and I'm not always sure if I like that. I think about what people will think if I laugh too loud or cuss too hard. I have learned that it is hard work to be a true friend and and because of that I need to be careful who I charm. I have lost the mastery of my self through this familiarity and have come to the conclusion that
Living deeply is hard.
I don't always like these still waters.
Somedays I wish I still wore my traveling shoes,
and could wade in the shallows
of this stream.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I have stories you wouldn't believe, stories that would make you laugh, make you cry and some that would even make you cringe.
How about a funny one?
Now Grandaddy(my paternal grandfather) raised cattle in his retirement and had a rather large farm on which he did this. One section was called the Beasley Farm, I guess because he bought it from the Beasleys. This place had pastures, ponds, and a large pecan orchard-all of which were fenced off. Everything that is except the old homestead. Grandaddy, being a frugal man, saw no need to fence an area not often used for cattle grazing. However, being a frugal man, he saw no need to go through the trouble of occasionally mowing or bush hogging that old place since he had some perfectly good cows that would eat all the pesky brush growing up. A seeming conundrum wouldn't you think?
My Grandaddy, being the resourceful and frugal person he was, had a solution. Wait for it.
He had had many years in which to perfect his plan of attack. His cattle had been accustomed to the presence of electric fencing in their regular pastures. He was a firm believer in the use of BB guns to deter critters from trespassing in various locations on the farm. And slowly but surely over the years he had acquired many grandchildren, not to mention folding chairs.
So what was Grandaddy's plan?
Well first he strung one strand of electric fence across the Beasley homestead, bordering the dirt road. Not electrified mind you, just loosely stretched from one fence post to another at least 200 ft away.
Second he gathered up all of his folding chairs and set them up spaced evenly down the middle of the dirt road facing the new "fence".
Third, he gathered up all available grandchildren which at that time consisted of me and my five siblings ranging in age from about 14 on down to 8ish.
How does this plan come together?
We six kids were each given a BB gun and a small bucket of BBs and careful instructions on the proper usage of said gun in "The Art of Preventing Cows From Going Through the Fence" which can be summed up here by a simple "Shoot the cow in the butt if it touches the non-electrified single strand of fencing with any part of its body. Oh, and don't shoot each other."
My Grandaddy figured cows are so stupid they wouldn't know where the sting of the BB was coming from and assume it was the fence "biting" them.
So there we were, strung out like beads, sitting in our lawn chairs with guns in our laps and our only task to shoot cows butts- like Pavlov's bells, teaching cows just how far they could go in their task of clearing the Beasley place of unwanted growth.
Looking back on that long ago hot summer I remember how I hated sitting there with no shade, and the boredom of watching those cows- who it turns out learned pretty quick for being such dumb beasts. Even so, none of us used our BB gun inappropriately, on the cows or on each other. None of us abandoned our posts as the day dragged on and weariness set in.
I guess this story isn't a side splitter really, just a little picture of one or two days in my life that have taught me to be still, that a little sting now is better than getting hit by a truck later like you would if you don't learn your boundaries and that sometimes kids won't shoot their eye out when given a BB gun.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
For the moment.
I am glad that we will be at home Christmas morning for sure but I must admit to being a little sad that we won't be going to Washington DC after all. My imagination had started its own flight of fancy and I was all prepared to follow when reality bopped me on the head.
Don't get me wrong, Reality is a friend of mine, but I gotta tell ya my opportunities to go with my imagination on an adventure are few and far between these days.
I'll get back in the holiday mood when I've plugged in the lights and had my Christmas cocoa.
Til then I believe I will savor a moment with Imagination and the possibilities ahead.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
"uh Mommy?"sotto voice
"uh Mommy?"still sotto voice
"I need some pillow"
" here Baby" and slide some pillow her way.
She snuggles in still warm and soft from sleep and our feet tangle under the covers, our hair on the pillow.
Hilarious is when she has some pillow then turns her back to me and skootches away to settle in for extended snuggley cuddles with Big Daddy D, her first true love.
Maybe she'll start bugging the crap out of him all day since he's home for the holidays.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I haven't seen any cool things to share or thought of any scintillating ways to share the hohummness I am experiencing right now.
We found out yesterday that Christmas has been cancelled at Big Daddy D's family's place due to massive amounts of illness.
So now, here we sit, wondering what on earth we are going to do for the next 2 weeks with all this family time. In the past my Mom has come up over Christmas but she couldn't make it up here this year. My sister and her family took Amtrack to NYC for their Christmas.
I do like Christmas at home best and am really kind of glad that we will be here for that. But it's one day out of 16. So now we are thinking of going to Washington DC for a few days. I would love to be able to spend a few days by myself in the museums there. Dragging through on my own time, taking as long as I want at each exhibit, wallowing in the excited hush and emotion that grips me as I discover for myself the treasures of our past and my present.
I'm thinking that a crazy 4 yr old, semi-sulky 16 yr old and a hyperactive hubby might not want to experience our nation's capitol the way I would.
But it might be nice to try.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...
You Are a Marilyn!
Marilyns are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontative.
How to Get Along with Me
- * Be direct and clear
- * Listen to me carefully
- * Don't judge me for my anxiety
- * Work things through with me
- * Reassure me that everything is OK between us
- * Laugh and make jokes with me
- * Gently push me toward new experiences
- * Try not to overreact to my overreacting.
What I Like About Being a Marilyn
- * being committed and faithful to family and friends
- * being responsible and hardworking
- * being compassionate toward others
- * having intellect and wit
- * being a nonconformist
- * confronting danger bravely
- * being direct and assertive
What's Hard About Being a Marilyn
- * the constant push and pull involved in trying to make up my mind
- * procrastinating because of fear of failure; having little confidence in myself
- * fearing being abandoned or taken advantage of
- * exhausting myself by worrying and scanning for danger
- * wishing I had a rule book at work so I could do everything right
- * being too critical of myself when I haven't lived up to my expectations
Marilyns as Children Often
- * are friendly, likable, and dependable, and/or sarcastic, bossy, and stubborn
- * are anxious and hypervigilant; anticipate danger
- * form a team of "us against them" with a best friend or parent
- * look to groups or authorities to protect them and/or question authority and rebel
- * are neglected or abused, come from unpredictable or alcoholic families, and/or take on the fearfulness of an overly anxious parent
Marilyns as Parents
- * are often loving, nurturing, and have a strong sense of duty
- * are sometimes reluctant to give their children independence
- * worry more than most that their children will get hurt
- * sometimes have trouble saying no and setting boundaries
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I am a Hobbit.
A tall, giant even, Hobbit (a full 5ft!)
Big Daddy D has pointed this out to me before.
I always denied it citing my aforementioned great height.
Now, however, I know it's true.
I am a Hobbit.
I just ate "second" breakfast at 9.
First breakfast was at 6:30.
I am thinking about 11sies.
And then lunch.
I better go glue some fake fur to my toesies!
And learn how to smoke a pipe I think.
Better go watch LOTR pronto.
Monday, December 15, 2008
So, here is Baby sporting a pair of overalls I knit for her when she was a newborn. Apparently kids grow a lot up before they grow out. She saw this in her newly visible closet and insisted upon wearing it. I think the pics are hilarious and now she is sleeping with these every night like a blankie. Kids!
I have accumulated quite a collection of Dollar Tree ornaments and after Christmas sale lights over the years, perhaps too many according to Big Daddy D,and I absolutely love them! I know that perhaps for the environment we should get an artificial tree and use it for years and years, and we did, for years. Finally though, last year we broke down and bought a "live"tree and loved it. This year we downsized our tree to a more affordable 6 footer(notice the really tall spire the angel perches precariously upon)($20 at a hardware store)(the tree not the angel, she we picked out years ago at WalMart-since largely banned but I won't go there-with Maggie and we'll keep her forever) It finally feels like Christmas around here, and I am glad for it. Now to get on with everything else! And I don't mean decorating. Now that the tree is in place there is room in my brain for other pursuits, like finishing knitting a pair of socks that I started 2 years ago!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
You didn't know that we have 2 birthdays in December to celebrate before Christmas gets here? Well, now you do. Sometimes it is rather difficult to deal with and this year especially so. The past 2 years I have waited a little longer than most people to put up a tree so that Baby doesn't get confused about birthdays and Christmas and all that jazz though this year is the last that I'll worry about that. And the weekend I would normally start getting Christmas decorations out I decided to complete the overhaul of Baby's room. Then we decided to go to Big Daddy D's parents for the holiday and now I have no tree. I am kinda sad about it actually but not enough to put up a tree for 9 days and then take it down. I'd end up leaving the tree up til like March or something. I have done that. And even then I didn't so much take it down as we were moving and I gave it to a friend, decorations and all so that I wouldn't have to disassemble the darn thing and pack it up with all the other stuff. That is nothing compared to my Mom. One year she left her Christmas tree up and changed out the decorations for every holiday. UP TO THE FOLLOWING THANKSGIVING! Now that is funny. Anyway, I've done a little seasonal decorating but nothing specifically Christmas and it's almost enough.
I want a tree.
A beautiful tree covered with my favorite baubles and twinkling away. I want to smell it and smile every time I look at it and water it and talk to it (What, don't you tell your tree how nice it looks?) and, and....
That settles it, I am off to buy myself a Christmas tree!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
And where is the tree? Only 16 days to Christmas and NO tree!
No presents wrapped as was brought to my attention earlier today.
I did however manage to make delicious broiled salmon and recreate another favorite dish from China- "beans and bacon" as it was called on the chinglish menu. Very misleading as the ingredients consist of snow peas, a famous chinese ham similar to "country ham" here in the States and cornstarch, broth and a smidge of soy sauce. Too bad Big daddy D had a Rotary dinner to attend and missed it! Oh well. He'll get some tomorrow in his lunch.
My back hurts (T_T)
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
It all started with a pretty bad case of food poisoning.
I must confess that I was a food sample freak. If it was out there and free I took a bite-after confirming no msg of course(migraines suck!). For years I partook with impunity.
Then the "freshly prepared" chicken salad came along. It tasted very good I must say.
It did not taste good less than 6 hours later.
I could not eat for 5 days. Just looking at food could send me hurking to the bathroom.
Don't worry I kept hydrated but by the time I felt better I had lost 9lbs and the urge to overeat as well. By the way I did gain back most of those 9lbs. Starvation is no way to "lose" weight and I am not advocating it in any way. Ask anyone that knows me, I eat, all the time. I love food. Bacon, butter and chips are eagerly consumed by me. I simply reconnected with my actual physical appetite, which I had lost touch with in the fog that surrounds grief. Over time that neglect had added about 27 lbs to my frame.
If you do the math you will realise that I have averaged losing about a pound or less each week. Slow and steady wins the race. It also keeps you from developing poor eating habits or heaven forbid eating disorders. Really what ended up happening is this: I ate a little slower so that my tastebuds and stomach stayed on the same page and quit eating when my stomach was full. If something didn't hit the spot or taste very good I didn't eat it. Exceptions were made for politeness sake, but only just enough to not be rude. As the weight began to come off, I found I had more energy and the desire to be more active. I'm not talking going to the gym or walking for miles with weights in my hands. I mean just doing more stuff. Going to the store more, playing with the dog more, going to the park with Baby more, just moving around the house and in my life more. And here I am 6 months later, healthier and happier with nothing more complicated done than listening to my body and following its dictates. All of which I am still doing, gladly.
Now, don't get me wrong. Willpower is a crucial ingredient. The habits that I fell into through grief, pain, and a bit of laziness were difficult to overcome. But the rewards are incredibly worth it. I don't have any desire to look half starved for fashions sake and I doubt I will ever have my highschool figure again- though I am not far from it.
I think I am most glad that this whole process has taken me on a journey into myself, the self that I had been carefully burying without even realising it and that this slow excavation of me is revealing a person I can be proud of.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
So there. I have more but I need to get off my soapbox and start cooking!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Whew, I needed that.
Baby and I have just had a day. A DAY. A day that makes me wonder what was I thinking deciding to be a stay at home mom. Yes, I do know how to take a shower by myself- I have been doing it lo these many years and no, no matter how loud you knock on the door I don't need a 3yr olds supervision. As hard as you worked making it I do not want any of your spit soup and no, I do not want to see another bugger-DON'T EAT IT! We don't eat candy for breakfast and we never have, stop looking at me that way. Just because you know how to operate the dvd player does not mean you can watch Tinkerbell 5 times in a row. Eat your lunch. No, I mean eat it. NO, eat it don't play with it. Robot Roooobot(r r r r noooobot)Don't feed the dog. Put you shirt back on, its freezing. Oh, your Jungle Evie, aren't you cold? No you can't go outside Jungle Evie, put your cloths back on. Good. She's not broken, you colored her with a red marker. I can't, permanent marker doesn't come off. You'll just have to love her the way she is. Daddy's at work. Mermaid juice? Say thank you to the mermaid in the refridgerator? Where is your father?
I need a drink.
And a good laugh.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
1 lb sweet potatoes,scrubbed peeled and cut into 2" chunks
vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
Timing is everything here.
Heat oil to 350 degrees and start frying potatoes. Immediately start cooking your sugar syrup in a medium size pot to about 300 degrees(this can take 20 minutes +/- and seems like it will never happen and then you go from 280 degrees to burnt in a blink so use a candy thermometer and then look at it often) stirring occasionally.
Hopefully your potatoes will be ready when the syrup is done because the syrup is a one off, it won't wait on the potatoes- which by this time should be golden brown and puffed. Remove potatoes from the oil and drain on paper towels. If your syrup isn't ready- KEEP THE OIL HOT- and briefly reintroduce the potatoes before stirring them into the syrup which you will have just removed from the heat. Quickly stir them to coat and pour them onto a plate that you have lightly greased and seperate the chunks some. These are best served hot along side a small bowl of cold water into which you dip your hot sugar potato to make it "crack" before you bite into it-and cool it off a bit too of course. Or just let them cool off a bit on their own-they will still have the crunch though they will have hardened together and be harder to seperate.
This dish is one we ate often the year we were in China. We ate it "family style" with chopsticks and that's the way we like it best but of course you can do whatever you like at your house.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Yeah, I'm thankful that it's over and that the in-laws brought plenty of wine. Everything was delicious and on time except the turkey. It is still delicious btw but I have discovered that I really do not like the convection feature of my bottom oven. Sure it roasted evenly but my small turkey(only 12lbs), brined and butterflied took about 45 minutes longer to cook than expected. That's a long time plus 20 minutes resting, for everything else to hold. So we ate all the fixin's then turkey and then pie. It worked out just fine but I really hate it when something like that happens. So I'll just have to go get another turkey and repeat the process with traditional baking feature to see what happened. We like turkey enough that it won't be a problem. I must say that brining the turkey overnight really improved the moisture/flavor of the breast meat. I mean the juices were coming out of the meat like they do with a super juicy steak and it was so tender you could just about cut it with a glance. And Derek and I were able to share for the first time one of our favorite dishes from China-candied sweet potatoes. Now I know you think you know about this but those ingenious Orientals have upped the ante on us poor Yanks. These sweet potatoes are cut into bite-size chunks that are deep fried to crispy golden perfection and then........dipped in a sugar syrup at hard crack stage so that you are basically eating something like a candy apple-not caramel mind you-crunching through that hard sugar crust into tender sweet potato still hot from the frying is a delight for the senses. I should add that this particular treat is not for the dentally challenged as biting into it can sometimes result in that "jolly rancher"-like fusion of molars that strikes fear in the heart of kids everywhere. The sweet was balanced by a delicious baked polenta chock full of caramelized onions that managed to be super crunchy(like fried cornbread for those of you familiar with that deep south delight) and remain creamy and delicious in the middle(like cheese grits ya'll!), add roasted red radishes-yes radishes, try it you'll love it- and brussel sprouts with fried out country ham chips and golden raisins, a super simple homemade cranberry sauce and turkey gravy and you have a well balanced meal in every way. Flavors, colors, textures, smells all complemented each other so well that the extra wait time for the turkey was hardley noticed(except by me of course). And lets not even go into the pies. Ok Ok, I'll tell you about the pies. Briana made her now famous pie, this year peach flavor and boy is it good, the ubiquitous pumpkin pie showed its scrumptious face- which was promptly eaten with cool-whip of course- though I am most thrilled with the pecan pie. Finally, after years of tinkering and some really good pies I have discovered, or maybe simply reinvented, the most wonderful of pecan pies and the true secret to pecan goodness and I am willing to share. Maybe. If you say please.
So now you know- if you didn't before- that my greatest pleasure in Thanksgiving is cooking. Some of the eating and a lot of the visiting but mostly the cooking. Having a dish come out better than ever and introducing new and delicious foods to friends and family, seeing the suprise and delight on their faces with that first tentative bite is what I am most thankful for.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
When you have a big company meal to prepare, you do that don't you?
Tell me you do that!
Just so you know I am only like this on special occasions-hence "Occasional Compulsive Behavior" moniker. So, I will be preparing 10 dishes, 5 of which I have never made before. I can do it, I have before , last year I had a 16 item menu that I prepared in someone elses kitchen some from recipes I had not even seen before.
Yeah, you read that right. 16.
And everything-I mean everything- was ready and on the table at 5. There's a story there but names would have to be changed including my own and well...I'll do my best to keep the peace. Anyway, you might think that's bragging and maybe it is a little but mostly it is venting and angst because though I have been preparing Thanksgiving meals or portions of them for 20+ years(I have been cooking full meals for a family of 8, including menu planning since I was 10, and started "helping when I was about 8) This will be only the second time that I will be preparing a Thanksgiving meal with my own menu, with my own stuff, in my own kitchen, and serving it when I want to. Finally! You will definitely think I am crazy now, but I only wish more people were coming to share my absolute favorite cooking holiday with me and my family. Wanna come?
We found out the hard way not to count on percentages, to live every day as if it is your last and to let go so that you can go on.
So yesterday I was basking on the proverbial beach, soaking up the rays and enjoying the moment, when suddenly a tidal wave of grief broke over me.
I just hold my breath, look for daylight and start swimming up.
I refuse to drown in grief, that does no honor to my Love.
I head for shore because I can't swim in grief, it does no honor to my Loves.
I walk in sunlight.
I love and laugh.
I live to honor my Loves.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
- Red Hair!
- Snow Days!
- Autumn Leaves!
- Size 6 Jeans!
- 34H Bras!
- Handknitted Slippers!
- Making My Chibi Onis!
- Homemade Truffles!
- Trying Every Mattress at the Store!
- Red Nail Polish!
- My Toes!
- Peep and the Big Wide World!
- Girly Giggles!
- Laughing During Sex!
- Bologna Sandwiches with Mayo!
- Natural Opals!
- Big Daddy D!
- My Girls!
- Opal(My Shmoopsie)
- Wood Fires!
- Eating the Last Tomato!
- Charlie & Lola!
- My Living Room Wall Color!
- Thrift Stores!
- Ballet! (Did You Think I Forgot?)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Saw this on a blog I unofficially follow and thought it was funny. Wait til Big Daddy D gets the bill! $1172 per hour, average 15 hrs per month for 10 years thats uhhh, $2,109,600! Maybe homemaker isn't my calling after all! Not that I ever thought it was, it's just what I do baby, it's just what I do.
On a completely different note, as you might or might not know the 3yr old was a baby Munchkin in the ballet school's very professional production of Dorothy's Adventures in Oz and just now decided to paint herself with green toothpaste and become the "evil witch". What will she think of next?