Thursday, May 20, 2010

Just Another Spring Day In Oklahoma

Weather is something that is to be expected in Oklahoma. Whether it is the wind, the humidity, or the storms, we have a variety to deal with. In the Spring months, especially May, one knows to be aware that a Spring thunderstorm could pop up at an instant and easily turn into a tornado. Recently we have had serveral opportunities to be reminded of this.

The week before a total of 34 tornados broke out in one day across the state. Last weekend a storm went through Oklahoma City, bringing with it baseball to softball size hail. If you have never experienced a severe hail storm it can be almost as devasting as a tornado. In the aftermath, birds could be found throughout yards wounded by the powerful force of the hail as it fell. Vinyl siding on homes was pulverized to nothing. Trees were stripped of their leaves. And a jogger who was caught out in the storm when it began was received severe injuries before he was able to seek cover. His back was covered in welts from the beating.

This last Wednesday, was another day when the state of Oklahoma was covered with the potential for big storms. At first I did not think much about it as being in such a place you tend to become complacent about it. Yet as the afternoon rolled around and the continuous storm updates were flashed across the tv, I began to become more aware of the potential. The first storm to spring up did so in a matter of minutes.  It was headed towards a town where Vincent's daughter lives, so I sent a text to tell her to be safe.  Soon after she calls me back telling me that she is not at home yet driving back from the city, going straight into the area where the storm is.  Fortunately the storms at this time were traveling slowly and she managed to arrive home safe before they reached her.

Although I complain at times about the continuous coverage of the weather on tv, on this day I was grateful.  At this time most of the weather was well north of me.  Still I prepared for what may come.  And in true form I was not disappointed.  A storm quickly started up south west of us and started to grow.  As it drew closer, the rain began.  Still reports were that it was not tornadic just a strong storm.  The rain continued to come down in buckets and soon the wind.  I could tell that circulation was happening due to the manner in which the rain was falling from all directions.  The tv had gone out yet I had my trusty weather radio and was able to listen to coverage. 

Just when I thought it may pass over us, a report came across the radio that a lowering was seen just a few miles of us and it was coming our way.  In the pouring rain, I leashed Winston who did not want nothing to do with going out in it, grabbed my purse and camera and headed to the cellar.  I listened as the sirens blew outside.  Still across the radio there were reports of a funnel sighted.  As the rain subsided and it became still I opened the door of the cellar.  Facing west, the sunshine could be seen peeking from behind billowy white clouds.  When I turned to the East, I could see the storm passing.  The yard was covered with water.  A total of 2 and a half inches fell in a matter of about 20 minutes.  A pale rainbow could be seen on the north side of the storm as it left. 

It was peaceful once again.  Such fury in so short of time, yet such tranquility immediately after.  The storms continued through the night further east yet were not as severe.  In total 16 tornados touched down.  Fortunately minor damage.  Just another spring day in Oklahoma

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Benjamin James

Twenty seven years ago today I lay in a hospital bed. My doctor, a man who loved cigars and tried frantically to smoke them while on rounds, would stick his head in occasionally to make sure I was ok. Eventually he sent me walking the halls and told the nurses not to call him until it was time. You probably have guessed that I was in labor and about to give birth. Yet this time was my first time. Little did I know that in a few short hours I would be holding my first born, Benjamin James, and screaming for some fried chicken.

BJ as we call him came into the world a strapping baby of 9lbs 9oz. Let’s just say his head paved the way for my next two that would come later in life. I was glad that I had a large baby. The idea of having a small little one of 6 or 7 pounds scared me. BJ came into the world half grown. I remember that summer spending many a day in the park beneath the shade of the large oaks that were scattered around. I would read to him and play him music as he slept his afternoons away. Needless to say he was nice and tan before the summer was over.

I still remember the first time I felt him move in my stomach. I was sitting in the college library, reading when I felt what was like a small flutter in my stomach. I did not think much at first yet when it occurred the next time I knew it was him. That pregnancy was magical to me. It was the first therefore everything that I experienced was new for me. I remember evenings sitting on my sofa and talking softly to him inside of me. Wondering and at times worrying about all that was about to happen to me. Yet I can honestly say it was one of the most wonderful times of my life and one I would never change or trade for the world.

Today BJ has grown to a strapping young man. He still has those deep blue eyes that seem to pierce right through you. His smile, when he gives it, could melt an iceberg. He always could get anything with that smile. He is still a quiet boy who loves life in his own way. He still loves good cooking and big dogs. (His fiancĂ©e Brandi is a great cook and he owns a pit bull and a mastiff) He still is my little boy. Funny… although he is my oldest he always seems to still be my baby.

So on this Cinco de Mayo,
I wish my little boy a big happy birthday.
You will never fully be aware of
just how much I truly love you dear.
You will forever be my sweet baby boy.
Love you Bunches

Friday, April 30, 2010

Thank Goodness It Is Friday

Although I greatly have been wanting to go outside this week and work in my yard Mother Nature has not been very supportive.  Monday and Tuesday were way cool with a nice breeze which made it feel even colder.  The next 2 days were just plain windy.  I love Oklahoma but really.... can't there be a rule where the wind can not blow more than 2/3 of the week.  Of course this weekend the wind is suppose to be lighter, but the chance of rain is increasing daily.   I have resorted to staying in the house and "trying" to accomplish some things that need to be done.  I have to admit that I have been having fun in the kitchen expermenting with my favorite new treat.  Meringues.... They are quite addictive and so easy.  I have been trying out some different flavors also.  Thank goodness they are not that bad for you....

Plus my homemade vanilla has been calling me.  I have used it in my cooking the last couple days and it is wonderful.  I was going to bottle it up to give away yet I am not sure if I will yet.  I think I will just make another bottle and keep this one for myself.  I do not think I will ever buy vanilla again in the store... This is way too good. 

Today the skys are cloudy, at least for the morning, and it is a bit cooler.  Yet they are to break later and the tempertures are to rise to the 80s.  The wind is still blowing yet I may still try and do some things outdoors.  I did manage to work 2 beds I was wanting to get to as well as plant some marigolds and sage.  Pictures to follow, I promise...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Wonderful Wednesday

Goodness but it seems that I do not write here as often as I used to.  Something I very much would like to change.  I have been busy that is for sure.  Working in my yard has taken up much of my time as well as trying to get all the things I may have to get done before I go to Tennessee to see my new grandson.

I have also been working in the kitchen.  Trying some new recipes out.  I have every intention of sharing them here when the time gives itself.  Of course I have been sure to have my camera handy while I have been testing these new items out so I will have plenty of good pictures to share with you.

Speaking of Photography, I have also been trying to get out more and shoot some photos.  Spring lends itself so well to such things.  The wildflowers have been coming up throughout the yard and they are definately something I love to photograph. 

Our new addition, Winston has also been taking up much of my time.  Although let me add here that he is a wonderful puppy and has been so easy to train.  Honestly I do not like to brag too much as I think as soon as I do he will remind me just what a puppy can be like.  Yet so far....he's been a dear (fingers crossed). 

So off again I go... In the kitchen this morning... once again trying some new recipes out, then its off to run errands, work in the yard, work a bit on the baby quilt, and read my book for my book review May 11.  Til next time....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nathan Has Arrived

What can I say, Isn't he just the most beautiful baby you have ever seen.  My newest grand baby was finally born.  Nathan finally decided to grace us with his presence Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 at 12:30 pm.  Coming in at a whopping 9 pounds 5 ounces.  Already he is making a grand entrance.  Baby and mom are doing great.... I can hardly wait to venture to Tennessee to hold the little sweetie.  Look at those hands.... More pictures to follow...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Still No Baby

Still we are waiting for our grandson to finally come into the world.  He seems to be a stubborn one that will come when he is good and ready.  Krystle entered the hospital yesterday at noon and started her medicine to help induce shortly after.  By 2 am in the morning still no baby so they stopped procedures and allowed her to rest as well as the baby. 

He seems to be a bit turned and before commencing with inducing the dr. would prefer that he turns on his own.  So we wait.  I wondered if possibly he just wanted to be a Taurus instead of an Aries however there is not much difference between a Ram and a Bull.  Both have hard heads and both are stubborn. 

Be assured that as soon as any news comes it will be posted as well as pictures when available.  It is funny how hard we try sometimes to make things fit the way we want them to be yet there are times when no matter how hard we may try they will just occur when they are good and ready. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Playing In The Garden

The warmer weather has been keeping me busy lately.  With spring taking its sweet time to come and finally decide to stay, any planting I wanted to do in the yard was postponed later than normal for me.  Yet this last week I have been able to at least begin my task.  I think that any chance of a freeze has past. 

This year I have been so lucky to find some wonderful new flowers to put out in my yard.  And better still all of my finds (or at least most of them) have been perrenials.  I am always so excited about perrenials as it means that is less work for me as the years pass.  This year I have been working on a new garden.  It really is somewhat of an extension to one that I started a couple years back.  Located near the pond and somewhat in the woods it is more of a woodland garden.  I cleaned out a nice area and planted some shaded plants such as columbine, english daisys, bleeding heart, and trailing vines. Plans are to place a stone bench near the area as well as bird feeders and such. 

I still have many plants to plant yet am hoping to complete all the work by the end of this week.  The rains are suppose to come in for a while which will be good for the new garden as it is a ways from the house and watering it can be a bit of a chore.  As for the other plants that I have planted in years past they are doing wonderful.  I can finally see fruits from my previous efforts and it gives me hope that in a few years I will not have to do this as much as I do now.  Upkeep will be my only chore. 

The frogs have returned once more to our pond.  We had been worried that possibly we had lost some of our larger ones last fall as they disappeared a bit earlier than normal.  Yet they are back again as big as ever.  I guess they knew the winter we were in store for and burrowed into their homes earlier than they usually do.  Since we have cleared the perimeter of the pond somewhat we are considering adding some fish into the pond this year.  It would be a nice addition as well as something fun for the grandkids to do when they visit. 

Speaking of grandkids, we are still waiting for Nathan to arrive.  Krystle's due date was yesterday and still no baby.  We should know something more definate today.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  This looks to be a stubborn one.  Until next time... take care... and enjoy the sunshine.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Off To A Busy Start

Looks to be quite a busy week.  Possibly new grandbaby on his way... shots for our new addition, Winston.... working in the yard, which includes mowing, planting and so on.... and the normal weekly chores that visit me.  Hopefully today I can get a good handle on a majority of them and if I'm lucky have some free time by the ending of the week. 

It has been windy here for some time.  Yet what would Oklahoma be if not for the wind... A bit more enjoyable I think sometimes.  The later part of the week is to bring calmer winds and more moderate tempertures.. It would be a great time to be able to relax and do whatever I may please. 

I have been receiving requests for several of my recipes.  Most of these requests have come from my other blog Mother Moon.  Yet I have decided to share a few of my secrets here.  So in the weeks to come be on the look out for some of my favorite recipes as well as some of my more artsy things. Such as bottling my homemade vanilla, the baby quilt I am working on for Nathan, and some of my Bun Buns.  There will also be other things as well. 

Look forward to sharing them all... Enjoy your Monday...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In My Absence

Last week I was on a little vacation.  I traveled to Tennessee to visit my daughter's family.  Of course this meant I was able to see my grandkids that I had not seen for the last 5 months.  It was a wonderful treat... full of hugs, playtime and more hugs.  I am always amazed at how much they can grow in such a short amount of time.  The new grandbaby should be here soon as the due date is April 12th.  I have to say though that she looks like she could deliver any day.  And I know she would be happy to do so.

Also since I have arrived home, Vincent and I gained a new addition to our own family.  We have been having withdrawls from the absence of the grandkids and decided to get a baby of our own.  His name is Winston and he is 8 weeks old.  He has been a dear these last few days and I have a feeling that we are going to enjoy him tremendously.  Already he is showing signs of being an extremely smart dog, yet most labs are.

The warmer weather also has come and it truly feels like spring is here.  Although the winds have not quite subsided the warmer temps have made it possible to start working in the yard and doing some of the work that I have been patiently waiting to start.  I am so eager to plant some flowers throughout the yard yet do not want to get to far ahead of myself as there could still be a bit of a cold snap to come. 

Easter is this Sunday and I think the thing I will miss the most is coloring eggs with my grandkids.  I have considered doing it myself yet do not know what I would do with them afterwards.  I sent the goodie packages off in the mail yesterday to my daughter's family as well as my son in DC.  I will give the other to my eldest son this weekend when they come over.  I think no matter how old they get they will never tire of a basket of goodies.  The one year I did not make them, I was quickly reminded at how much they are loved. 

Hoping all of you are having a wonderful week... and if I do not get back here before the weekend.... Hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Last Day of Winter - First Day of Spring

Today is the last day of winter... The day could not be more perfect.  A gentle breeze and tempertures to top somewhere near 70.  One would think that old man winter had had his fill and was finally content with leaving.  Yet he will get one more hurrah.

Later this evening a front is to blow in.  As we turn the corner and begin the first day of spring tomorrow we are to be hit with tempertures in the low 30's and high winds.  They say the wind gusts will be between 25 and 45.  And of course one last good snow storm before he leaves.  They are predicting blizzard conditions. It will not accumulate too bad as the tempertures have been high enough to help it melt readily.  However a total of up to 4-6 inches and more in some places is expected.

One has to love how mother nature has a way of even in nature telling us that even though the skies may be blue, they can turn directions without any notice.  May your first day of spring be a good one. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How I Celebrated St. Patty's Day -



MySpace Music Videos
Well I have to say that I celebrated St. Patricks Day in the best way possible.  Last night Vincent and I ventured down to Dallas and went to a Muse Concert.  Yes, I know I have already seen the guys 7 times prior yet how can one resist.  It was fantastic.  Just when you think they can not get any better, they do....
It is definately one thing that I can do that makes me totally forget that I am a 48 year old woman, which I have to admit I love.  I was able to snap a few pictures, before my battery died on my camera... and was able to enjoy the rest of the concert in style.  I tacked on a video of their new single so you could see a bit of what I saw last night.  Just had to share....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

Seek And You Shall Find

The other day I was taking a break from my somewhat unscheduled day. I had grabbed a bite to eat for breakfast and usually at this time I click the TV on for a short time while I eat. There really is not much on TV in the mornings. At least there is nothing which I would deem watchable. Usually this time is spent channel surfing which is exactly what I did that morning. I stopped on a HBO channel. A show entitled Letting Go of God was on. I am not really sure why it caught my attention yet it did.

I sat there and watched while a long time Catholic woman explained her journey through the Catholic Church. She brought up questions and doubts she had formed while attempting to find her God. She talked about how she finally fell out of the church and continued to search in other realms for what she kept calling her God. I did not watch the entire show and sort of wish that I had. When I did check the info on it I found that in the end she comes to the conclusion that there is no God. In other words she goes from a devoted Catholic to an Atheist.

As I said I did not watch the show in its entirety. However I did watch a good portion of it and some of the areas in which she described her “search” sort of made me think. I think all of us have questions in regards to what our beliefs are and why. It is hard to believe that there would be one with no inquisitiveness inside of them. Yet I have seen them or so they appeared to be that way.

The individuals who are raised in a church atmosphere and find no issue with believing all the stories and such that are told to them from the time they are small until present. They do not question the doctrines they are told are correct. They do not question the situations that come into their lives that contradict such laws. They just continue to deal with life and all its adventures based on how they have been told they are to act. I sort of feel sorry for these people. Yes it is easy to sit in a room where everything is told to you. There is no need to make any decisions for yourself in regards to what you believe as you already have the blueprint in front of you. And if by chance you do start to feel yourself falter there are always the elders/deacons/whatever one can lean on. You know the ones who are suppose to know everything. I know that such a life is comforting. There is no need to step out into the real world and experience for yourself the darkness that is there. Who would want to? The stories that can be told are enough to scare anyone from even considering such a thing.

Then there are the individuals that have an issue with the rules and restrictions that church can bring so they are just not going to believe anything. That makes it easy… We are born then we die… that is all there is. The wonders of the world around us, what are they? Merely a coincidence they say. It all “just happened” to come to be. Religion is just a crutch for those who are emotionally unstable. They need to believe in something beyond because they just can’t deal with the life now. I have heard all these lines from “atheist”. I have to say I do not understand them very well. I try and keep myself clear of them as I usually end up in an argument.

Then there are the ones who seek. They search and look for answers to the many questions that fill their minds on a daily basis. They accept the fact that they do not know all the answers. They accept the fact that more than likely they will never find them. Their minds are open to all possibilities that seem to flow by them. They take each one and carefully examine it keeping what they feel is pertinent to them and letting go of what is not of any use. They build and form in time their own religion inside of themselves. Yes, many of these people attend a multitude of churches made up of a multitude of denominations and beliefs. Yet they are not the usual cookie cutter attendee. Their beliefs are much deeper, more real. They do not follow because they are told that is what they are supposed to do. They follow because it is what they feel in their heart is best for them at this time on their never ending journey to find “it”.

Although I would not consider myself a person who is forceful and aggressive in most areas of my life, I feel that when it comes to this area I am. I seek, because I do not know all the answers yet. I seek, because I want to know all I can. I have learned that there are areas that no matter how hard man tries he may never fully understand. It is not an insult to accept such a fact. It is merely being honest with oneself. I guess that in its own way atheism is a manner of seeking. I have known those who have grown tired of the church or any form of spiritualism and just said forget it all. They still ask the questions that even though they will not admit it are geared towards spiritualism. Even if the God they worship is themselves. I have to remind myself to allow them their own journey.

One of my favorite movies is Stigmata. A story of an ordinary woman (Frankie) with no ties to the church through a series of events begins to acquire the wounds that Jesus was said to have endured during the crucifixion. A controversial priest (Father Andrew) is sent to investigate the validity of the story. There are many quotes throughout this movie that echo my beliefs. From when the Cardinal is attempting to kill Frankie because he cannot explain her condition and cries out “I will not let you destroy MY church.” To when Frankie tells Father Andrew. “You know what’s scarier than not believing? Believing, really believing. It’s fucking terrifying. Yet my favorite of all is the quote that Frankie and others say several times throughout the movie. “The kingdom of god is inside you and all around you…not in mansions of wood and stone. Split a piece of wood and I am there, lift a stone…. And you will find me.”

Although this is said in a sense that many would consider “churchy”, it can relate to anyone who believes that there is something and/or someone bigger than them. That it is not what others necessarily tell us to believe or tell us to do, but what we ourselves seek out and eventually find that satisfies that need inside of us. Yes the answers are inside of each of us and they are all around us, we need only look for them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Cost Of Ones Actions

A little over a week ago a father was driving through the city with his two children. His son of five years with his bouncing head of red curls. His eyes that sparkled with a smile with what seemed to be continuously. A truly joyful child. His younger sister of two who like most sisters resembled her brother in many ways. Same red hair, same sparkling eyes. Both were just glad to be out with their father enjoying an afternoon.

Stopped at a stop light waiting for the red to turn to green so that they could continue on their way home from their time together, they enjoyed the few moments that it gave them to just sit and enjoy each other’s company. Brother and sister glancing at one another on occasion as siblings do. The father facing forward listening to the giggles and playful sounds his children made. All not knowing what a precious moment they were truly involved in.

Within an instant the tranquility and joy that before was so obvious and welcomed was cut short and turned to a darkness that would eventually consume so many. From behind a speeding pickup came. It barreled up the off ramp towards the back end of the waiting SUV which housed the happy family. It did not slow as it approached the car. It continued until it rammed into the back end of the stationary vehicle.

Without any warning lives were changed. The truck spun around after it hit the SUV eventually landing to the side of the road. The front end smashed. The driver unconscious. The SUV stood motionless. It had been thrust forward by the jolt. The back of it was no more. Pushed into what before was the middle. Emergency vehicles were quick to come to the aid of those in need. Police to investigate the accident, Firemen to help free those who may be trapped, and Ambulances to rush those hurt to the nearest hospital. The father was taken with cuts and bruises to the hospital for observation and review. The little sister likewise was taken to the hospital as she was in the back seat and sustained much of the force which struck the back end.

The little boy with the bouncing red curls and the sparkling eyes that smiled before would smile no more. His tiny body lay motionless. Crushed and mangled by what had just occurred. His life with those who cherished him so would be no more. No longer would his father hear his laughter, his mother hold him close as he fell asleep at night, his little sister grow up and enjoy the wonderful gifts that only an older brother can bestow. He had passed.

The man who drove the pickup: He was injured yet not to the degree as the others. He was taken to the hospital and later released. When told that a five year old boy had been killed due to his negligence, he stated… kill me now. He failed the sobriety test which was given to him on the scene and later was found to have prescription drugs in his system as well. He drove with a suspended license which should have kept him off the road all together. Although his life of freedom was all but ended, he had experienced over 60 years of life prior. Yes he is in jail awaiting trial. Yes he will pay for his actions. But at what cost?

The father was released from the hospital with minor injuries. The sister still lies in the hospital in serious condition. She is still not aware that her brother will no longer be with her. A family has been changed forever and at no fault of their own. All because one person decided to get behind the wheel when he should not have.

Online Rememberance Guestbook for Adam

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Mumblings

Well it is Monday again… Another week has crept by us and hopefully most enjoyed a wonderful weekend. The weather has been very spring like since March has begun. The temperatures have stayed in the 50’s for the most part and at times even managed to go higher. It has been very enjoyable. Although I know that a sudden snow storm can still come and get us I am glad for the warmer temperatures. I have learned not to dismiss old man winter as being gone until at least Easter. That is still a few weeks away so I haven’t put all my winter clothes away just yet. I am thinking about changing out the flannel sheets though.
In a few weeks I am going to get to venture a bit to the east and visit my daughter and her family for a bit. I have to admit that I am tremendously excited because it has been almost 5 months since I have seen my grandkids. Now I know that may not seem like a long time to some. Yet to any grandma, they understand. We exchange letters, phone calls, and even talk via Skype on occasion. Still nothing matches the feeling of a good old fashioned hug from your grandchild. I am sure both have grown like weeds since last I seen them.
We are supposed to have thunderstorms this afternoon. I have to admit that I am a bit excited about it. As long as they do not turn to severe I love to sit and just enjoy a good storm. It is only March yet still we can have some good ones. Last year we had tornados in February. It is something that does not happen too often yet occasionally it can. I have learned living in Oklahoma that you come to expect just about anything when it comes to the weather. I have even seen it snow in the midst of a thunderstorm. This year I would love to attempt to capture some photographs which show the beauty of an Oklahoma storm. We have some beautiful cloud formations at times. And there is always the elusive lightning shot.
My seedlings that I started some time back are doing quite well. Lets just say most of them are. I think I may have started them a bit early. Yet it was a learning experience. I learned which seeds are best suited for such planting. I am planning on planting some more of these seeds and by the time they have sprouted I should be able to put them outdoors. I did find some beautiful cannas bulbs last week. I am planning on planting them tomorrow and more than likely will purchase a few more plus a couple elephant ears. I can hardly wait to get my hands in the dirt.
The Canadian geese are still visiting daily. In fact they stay all day sometimes. Over the weekend we witnessed several standoffs between different males as other couples attempted to come and share our yard with the couple who have already set claim to it. They can be extremely aggressive. I was pinched once when I was young by a goose. Not a fun thing if I do say so myself. The pair that are with us most of the time seem to have befriended our cats. Even though they stalk them like the great hunters they are. I am surprised that the geese have not gone after them. Yet I think that they find the cats, especially Sunny, quite comical.
Well it is off to my Monday chores. Until next time… Have a good day and don’t forget to smile.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Understanding The Empty Nest

I never really thought much about the empty nest syndrome. I know that it pertains to when your children move out of the house and on with lives of their own. Sometimes the move is local and still they are near enough that you can visit them on occasion. Yet there are times when they move much further away. My children are a little of both. My oldest son is near enough that we can visit whenever we like. My other son is in DC and my daughter is in Tennessee. This has been an adjustment especially since 2 (soon to be 3) of my grandkids also reside in Tennessee. Their moving left me with much of a similar feeling as I babysat them for a good portion of time before they moved.

I have learned over time that although we as mothers look at our children forever as a child, they do grow up and they do create a family and life of their own. There does come a time when this is made quite evident. I have always tried to not be the kind of mother that nags too much or seems to butt into their lives more than usual. Yet still I am reminded from time to time that I may need to make adjustments. I do not agree with all the requests that may be made. Yet I do understand that it is their lives and the ultimate choice is rightfully theirs.

I will say that the relationship between my children and myself over time has caused me to reevaluate my relationship with my mother. Maybe that is just the way the evolution of parenting goes. When you are young you do not realize what some of your words or actions may do. You view them from your point of view and they are rightfully justified. Yet as time moves on and you find yourself in a similar situation yet on the other side, you realize that such things may be more hurtful or harsh then you ever meant them to be. This goes both ways I think.

I have learned that this growing process can be painful to all who are involved. Whether or not it is a smooth process depends much on the communication and/or relationship between those involved. Patience is an asset that is greatly needed and helpful for either party. An open mind and a realization that there is discomfort felt by all who are involved is also something that is good to know.

Am I suffering from empty nest? I am not sure really. Sometimes I think I am, as I miss the interaction and relationship that I used to have with my children. Yet I see them in their new families and activities and know that they are happy and evolving well into the world. I am proud of their accomplishments and the challenges that they place ahead of themselves to continue to become all that eventually they will be. I understand the restraints of distance and the fact that it keeps the once easy visits from happening. I understand the need for time together alone as their own family to help build tradition and form a history of their own.

Still I miss them. Still I wish that I were momma again. I was far from the perfect mother. Is there such a thing? I think we all learn as we go. Trying to be and do the best we can. Looking back sometimes and thinking maybe if I had done this or not done that. Yet things in the past are just that… in the past. I think I will call my mother today. I think I will tell her how much she means to me and how much I appreciate all she has ever done for me. I think I will let her know that although I may not show it all the time that I truly do love and above all respect her. She did the best she could. No she was not perfect, but she was there.

Maybe we don’t get to be called momma again until our children are older. Until they too have gone through the times and trials of parenting that help them to eventually understand the actions we may or may not have taken. Maybe it is not until this time that we have enough time to sit and listen to their side of the story. Maybe that is what the empty nest is all about.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Bottle of Vodka and A Few Vanilla Beans

In  my many travels through blogland I am always finding new ideas.  Many of these ideas are in the edible form.  What can I say I enjoy eating, however as time  has progressed with me, I have had to learn to eat lighter and make sure that what I do consume is as healthy as it can be.  One thing that has always gotten me is the amount of perservatives that go into so many of the processed foods these days.  If I can not pronounce it I am a bit skeptical as to if I should be letting it enter my body. 

Because of this I am always on the look out for new and inventive ways to cook, store, or create anything that I may use in my kitchen.  Recently I ran across a blog post on making your own vanilla.  Now let me say this before I go any further, vanilla is one of my most absolute favorite flavors as well as one of my favorite smells.  In fact when I was little, I used to sneak in the cupboard and smell the vanilla all the time.  One day I took a sip thinking that its flavor would be just as glorious as its aroma.  I quickly learned that this is not the case. 

Vanilla is derived from the Orchid plant. One flower produces one fruit. It was first grown in Mexico and translated it means little pod.  It was brought out of Mexico to Europe in the 1520's by Cortez.  Today one can find a number of different varieties of bean:  The Bourbon bean or Madagascar bean, The Mexican bean, The Tahitian bean, and the West Indies bean.  Many may think that the term french vanilla also describes a type of bean.  This is not so.  This term is used to describe anything that has a strong vanilla aroma and contain vanilla grains.  Vanilla is also said to have some medicinal uses.  It is said it can be used as an aphrodisiac and also a remedy for fevers.  However, this has not been scientifically proven. 

With the fact that vanilla is the second most expensive spice, next to saffron, I found the possibility of making my own a cost saving adventure.  Also the fact that I would be creating the mixture myself  I felt it was more fresh and thus lest additives.  Anyone who uses fresh spices also knows the wonderful difference from those purchased in stores.  The freshness allows you to use less as the flavor is much stronger.  Again another money saving reason. 

The recipe is quite simple although if you do look it up on the internet you will find a variation of amounts to use.  I basically took an overall sample from all to create mine.  First get you a bottle of alcohol, such as vodka, rum or gin.  I choose vodka as it was the most tasteless therefore creating a cleaner vanilla taste. However, I have spoke with some who used rum and simply loved it. 

The number of vanilla beans to use is where most recipes vary.  I have seen 2 for one bottle of alcohol to 3 beans per cup of alcohol.  I myself used 4 beans.  Take your vanilla beans and with a sharp knife slice them down the middle, exposing the wonderful aroma and vanilla paste inside.  You can just put the uncut bean inside yet I feel the slicing of them allows more flavor to be drawn from it.  Screw on the lid and place the bottle in a dark cool place (a pantry works wonderful) for aproximately 8 to 10 weeks.  Occasionally shake the bottle to help the flavor blend.  Soon your clear alcohol will turn a nice amber color. 

When it is time use your vanilla you will need to strain it via a cheese clothe to catch all the lose seeds that have come out of the beens and also the beans themselves.  If you would like to keep some of the seeds you can strain through a sieve to just remove the bean.  When bottling I put a fresh bean in each bottle to continue the process of flavor.  One bottle can last up to years as each time it starts to go down, simple top it off with additional alcohol and allow to sit .  You will not have to let it sit as long as before as the flavor will already be present. 

There are many places to purchase vanilla beans yet I suggest you go online and purchase them in bulk.  It is much cheaper and they are just as good and sometimes better.  Purchasing them in the grocery store is very costly as you can only purchase one at a time.  This is so simple and a wonderful way to have wonderful tasting vanilla as well as a great gift idea. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Change Would Do Me Good

We have lived at our current location for few years now and have always been blessed with the yearly visitation of our Candians.  About this time of year you can see them return even though I am sure they have been around somewhere during the earlier months.  Yet it is the time when love is in the air and nature begins its routine of courtship and eventual propagation.  I have always been amazed at the constant routine that the Canadian has.  Each year they return to the same place.  This is not the first time I have seen such behavior. 

I remember a neighbor once who had 2 geese whose wings had been clipped in their back yard.  Each year they would have their duckings and raise them as any good parent would.  When the time came and the urge increased the young ones do as most wild geese do and fly south.  Yet every spring once again they would come home to visit. 

Likewise we fall into our routines of choice.  Some we follow on a daily basis not even realizing that such actions are routine.  Yet still we persist.  Yes, sometimes we are taken off track and the activities of our day may change.  And yes, at these times we usually feel out of place and somewhat off track.  Yet as soon as we fall back into the norm we are accustomed to our lives return to that even keel we all love to sit in. 

I have been challenged to think about my routine.  Not only on a daily basis yet in an overall view and ask myself if possibly a change is needed.  I have come to realize that I am quite a person of routine and am not a very happy camper when out of it.  Yet I think that change and evolvement is a good thing and is needed for a constant growth.  Therefore as spring approaches I am urged to ask if maybe some personal spring cleaning is needed.  Definitely in my home I know this is true.  Yet likewise in my personal home (me) I am sure some dusting and rearranging would not hurt either. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday Ramblings... A Day Late

Hope that all of you had a wonderful Valentines Day.  Falling on a Sunday, I am sure caused it to be a very buy weekend for many.  I am sure the weather in many areas did not help matters either.  I have to admit that Vincent and I are not too celebatory on Valentines Day.  I think it is way over commercialized.  Although do not get me wrong, I love to receive flowers and chocolates, I just do not think that there needs to be a specific day that is singled out as the time one needs to show one how much they mean to them.  We had a nice evening at home with a bottle of wine and a bunch of our favorite foods, watching the Olympics... Guess the fact that we are getting a bit older could have a bit to do with that...

Today is Fat Tuesday or Madi Gras.  Likewise we are spending a quiet day at home.... No over the top celebration planned here.  The usual housework and daily chores will be done.  I do like the colorful masks though that appear at this time.  I will admit that I have one in my closet on the top shelf... I purchased it one year yet am sure that I will never wear it...Although at the time I bought it I knew I would. 

Spring is trying so hard to pop out here.  I have seen the robins around and my tulips and such are inching out further and further each day that the snow remains away and does not cover them.  It seems that we get our share of snow every 2  or 3 days... This week looks to be cold yet sunny though and I intend to take advantage of it.  As they have already said that next week is to bring yet again another storm or two for us.  I know that spring will be here in its own time yet I have never been more ready for its arrival. 

Of course the grandkids love the snow.  It means playing outside and building a multitude of snow men, as well as days off from school. What could be more fun than that, but going back into the house for cocoa and cookies... Hope this finds all of you in good spirits...and good thoughts...