Search This Blog

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Circle of Life: Sometimes It Just Gets Broken

The Circle of Life: Sometimes it just gets broken and there is nothing to do but to deal with it. 

By Circle of Life, I mean where you grow in several stages.  This is MY perception of how it works based on my experiences.  Your results may vary, as they say in the commercial disclaimers.

Stage One:  as child dependent upon your parents to guide and mold you. For a while your parents are as Gods. They are wise, all knowing, the source of comfort and everything else that a young child must have.

Mom and Me
Stage Two: Soon, you grow into a teenager straining to find out who you really are. Ah...the teen years. Teen age angst.  What a trial for the parents.  You go out of ways to assert your independence and to just be contrary to all authority.  There is an ongoing power struggle between teen girls and their mothers, sons and fathers.  At this point you realize that maybe the parental units are NOT perfect or God like.  You've seen the cracks in the facade in some ways.   Perhaps it is the party where someone got a bit too drunk, was having fun and became embarrassing.  Maybe an uncomfortable argument between the parents.  Everything your family does is now worthy of an eye roll or two.

Stage Three: Thankfully we grow out of that teenager stage.  You go out on your own.  College, maybe. Get a job and an apartment of your own.  Move to another town. Now you begin to realize that life is more than being a child or an obnoxious teen dependent.  The bills keep coming in and you suddenly realize that ....Woah.....someone has to clean the bathroom, change the toilet paper roll and buy the food and all that stuff. This means I have to keep going to my job! and I can't just spend all my money on fun things.  Maybe that home and family thing was worthwhile.  Still figuring out who you are you experiment will all kinds of things. You might occasionally think about your parents and the fact that they were young at one time and remember some of their stories, if your parents were of a mind to share their own youthful indiscretions.   But mostly, it us all about you and your new exciting life.

Somewhere between stage two and three,  you discover SEX.  You are sure that it has never been this way for anyone before.  You are special..... THEN suddenly it dawns on you that your parents have had sex too.   At least once or twice, depending on how many siblings you have.  Eeeewwww!  This may require that I rethink my views of my parents and think about why they dropped us off at the theater every Saturday so we kids could spend the afternoon watching bad B movies......  Naaah.

Stage Four:   The real relationship stage.  You find a boy or girl that you like a lot and you discover that the 'way of love' is not all that easy.  It might work out and turn into marriage or you might find out that it is just a way of woe.  Suddenly, your parents seem to be more understandable.  Those arguments and quirks that they exibited that were so embarassing to you, make some sense.  You might be able to confide in your mother or father and even ask for advice.  They aren't Gods like they were when you were small, but.....somehow as you have gotten older, they seem to have gotten so much smarter. Amazing how that can happen.

Stage Five:  Marriage and children.  If you manage to make it past stage four, you are now married and have children of your own.  There is a moment where it dawns on you, perhaps when you are changing diapers or getting up yet again in the middle of the night to feed the baby or walk the floor at 2 am trying to console your colicky child.....WOW.  My mother/father did this same thing for me.!!! And I took it all for granted.   As a new mother or father, you will now be able to reach out to your parents for advice and ask them.  How did you handle this problem.  What was it like for you?  (They THEY are now Grandparents and working their way through their own Circle of Life.) 

Now, you can talk woman to woman or man to man.  You parents are morphing into friends and confidants.  People.  Not just parents, but people who have pasts, likes, dislikes.  As your own children grow and you deal with the intricacies of a marital relationship, this friendship grows ever more strong.

Stage Six:  Finally, you have gotten your children through their teen years and you also remember just what a little prick or bitch you were to your own parents.  (I apologized to my father at that point.) Your children are in Stage Three.    Ahhhh.  At last. The empty nest.  Free at last free at last.  Adults without young children and you can do the things you put off while raising the family.  Travel. Go to resorts and experience fine dining.  Sleep IN on Sunday and walk around the house in your underwear without a snotty teenager rolling eyes at you.   
Three Generations

Stage Seven:  Finally.  Grandchildren of your own to spoil.  Now you are the valued source of information.   

Somewhere in these last stages, you begin to realize the mortality of your parents and yourself.  Life isn't eternal as you think it is in your teen and young adult years.  Friends, family are dropping like flies and you realize that time is precious.  You'd better spend as much of it as you can with your parents if they still exist and your children and grandchildren before the circle stops spinning..

Such is the circle of life.  Wheel within wheels.  We are all on the circle at various points.  But....sometimes the circle breaks as it did for my mother and for the rest of us.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Scanning the Past

I'll admit it.  I'm a compulsive clipper and saver.  I clip out recipes from magazines and file them away into categories. When I go to yard sales I buy old cookbooks.  I especially love the small books put out by clubs and ladies associations.  Interesting regional books.  Old cookbooks that are a view into what our lives were like in other times, like the depression or the roaring 20's.

I have binders and shelves full of crafting magazines.  McCalls, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, American Home Crafts.  I have clipped and saved crafting ideas and instructions from magazines for decades, since the 1960's when I started crafting.  Boxes and files full of old and yellowing clippings that I can peruse when looking for a new idea or an old idea that is new again.  Decorating and house ideas.  Yardscapes and gardening ideas.   We actually used many of those as inspiration when building our house.

Often I look at these old ideas and get great inspiration.  Other times I just laugh and wonder......what were we thinking?  Seriously.  Using styrofoam meat trays as an art form?   Who would want to wear
THIS or even spend a great deal of time making such a monstrosity.
OMG the 70's What were we thinking
What self respecting man would wear THIS.  Why in the world did I ever clip this and save it

Really Ugly Trout Sweater

Some ideas are still interesting and inspiring.  Classics that don't go out of style.  I think I will be making this sweater this winter for myself.
Aran Sweater

What?!!   What are you looking at??   I'm not a hoarder.   Everything is organized and neat.  ORGANIZED I tell you  :-)

Well.  Enough is enough with the piles of clippings. Now that I'm retired and I have time to get back into the things I love to do.  Cooking and Crafting, it is time to get into the 21st century already.  I am now in the process of scanning the craft clippings into PDF or JPEG formats.   Now I can clutter up my computer with files instead of my filing cabinet.

Scanning the past and saving the ideas.   Now if I can just bring myself to actually throw away the clippings after I have scanned them.   Nope.....not a hoarder.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Skip the Debates....Let's Have a Duel

This morning, Dumbplumber (my ever lovin' hubby) and I remarked how completely sick and tired we are of the never ending blather from the talking heads about the upcoming election.  Sick of all of them from Fox to CNN to NPR.  The latest is all about the debate preparations for Obama and Romney: who is going to be better at answering the stupid media questions, who has a more soaring oratorical style and who can blather more than the other guy.

In fact, one talking head said "We are awaiting dueling speeches from the candidates."   Hell.....why don't we just skip the speeches part and go directly to a good old fashioned duel.   It was good enough for Andrew Jackson.   Romney vs. Obama at 20 paces with pistols.  Or swords.   Ooooo  I know....Light Sabres.

However, since everything associated with Obama is racist,  and probably a white dude like Romney aiming a gun at Obama could possibly construed as racist, I suggest we use stand ins to take the place of  the candidates.

My suggestions:

Ted Nugent can stand in for Romney

Michael More for Obama

Put it on Pay Per View.  Watch the money come rolling in.

Genius.   Right????

Monday, September 24, 2012

Proof: No one is serious about the Green Movement

The "Greenies" is my name for the eco-nazis who want to save the earth by limiting our consumption of water, energy, food, lightbulbs and just about everything else.   They want us to watch our carbon footprint and save the Earth.  They nag us about everything and won't be happy until we all are living in a Luddite world, huddling in the dark and chained to our hovels by high gasoline prices, high energy prices and eating sticks and twigs.

Well, I have proof that they are not serious.  That they are full of shit and don't really mean any of the things they tell us.  That they don't live by their own rules and did I already mention.....full of shit.

When you check into a motel or hotel, you are gently chided ....nagged save the planet by conserving, turn off the lights, set the A/C at a higher temperature.  Hang up your towels and not have your sheets changed to save the water.  Don't take a long shower.  Don't let the water run when you are brushing your teeth.   Ok.  Not a problem.  I don't change my sheets daily at home anyway and I can use the same towel more than one time. is the proof that they don't really mean it and it is all just eyewash.  Proof that the Green Movement is all about controlling the proletariat and nothing about actually conserving or taking care of the environment.

A few days ago, The Dumbplumber, and I checked into a hotel we like to stay at for a little R&R.  It is next to a great steak house and we can have some cocktails, walk to the restaurant, have some more cocktails and not worry about driving or getting a DUI.

Coincidentally, we were booked into the very same room that we had 3 months before.  The same room that we complained about the toilet tank leaking through the flapper all  the time.  About every 5 to 7 minutes a gallon or so of water would leak and the tank would turn on.  Wooosh.   The Dumbplumber being an actual.....wait for it.....PLUMBER, informed them at the desk of the leakage and that a $4 flapper would fix the problem.

Did they fix it....HELL NO.  Again.  Water wooshing all night long, every 5 to 7 minutes.  Dumbplumber finally got up and turned off the water supply and in the morning the tank was bone dry.  So....not only is this annoying, we got to thinking about the amount of wasted water running down the sewers.   I'm all about conserving and not wasting, but I'm not making a religion of it like the Greenies.

Here's the math. 

24 hours a day X 60 minutes =  1440 minutes
1440 minutes / 5 minutes =  288  gallons of water down the toilet in one day
288 gallons X 365 days a year = 105,120 gallons a year

105,120 gallons x 10 (at least) other leaky toilets in this hotel = 1,051,200

Over a million gallons a year in just this ONE hotel.   There are probably at least 10 other hotels losing similar amounts of water so now we have 10.5 MILLON gallons of wasted water. 

So.....Not only are they wasting enormous amounts of water, the water bills must be enormous as well and the costs are passed onto the hotel patrons. If they were really serious about the crap they lecture us about, they would have taken the Dumbplumber's advice in the first place and fixed their leaking toilets. 

When the Al Gores of the world downsize their houses, quit flying around in personal jets.  When the Michelle Obamas of the world start eating what they expect us to eat and stop flying around in huge jets at OUR expense.  Then I might consider taking their advice.   But, THEY aren't serious and we can't take them seriously either until they start acting like it.

Hello Blog...Long Time No See

 Hello Blog...Long Time No See.

Wow.  It has been months since I have posted anything to you.   I know you must feel neglected as a blog so I promise to try to pay more attention to you.   But really, life has been rather busy so some things just end up on the back burner.  It doesn't mean that I don't care about you as a blog or want to make you feel unnecessary.   Seriously. I will try to do better and make it up to you by posting something new once in a while.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Celebrating Earth Day.....MY Way.

Earth Day

Wow.  I'm really out of the loop.  I was just informed that today April 22 is earth day.

We were busy the last couple of days celebrating Hot Rods with massive fire breathing carbon belching  engines Demon 4 barrel carbs. (not the kind that Al Gore is concerned about either!)  GMC 6-71 blowers  and the mother of all engines the blown and injected 426 Hemi.   Drinking and checking out the Rat Rods, Resto Rods and refurbished classics.   The coolest one we saw was a 47 Buick slant back, lowered air suspension, all leather handcrafted interior, kick ass stereo system....weighing in at 4200 pounds of steel, chrome and glossy green paint and probably getting 10 mpg.     Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera this year, so here are some shots from previous years.

As you can see, we are all torn about almost missing Earth Day.

Now that we are back home, I guess we'd better on that Earth Day stuff.  So today we will

1. Turn the pump back on in the well to start irrigating the garden, orchard and lawn.
2. Hose off the decks and clean with a mild TSP solution to get rid of the dirt and moss that keeps trying to grow in the shadiest area.
3. Pile up the rest of the orchard and tree trimmings and burn the pile before the ban on burning is in effect.
4. Spray around and under the decks for yellow jackets and paper wasps.  They are definitely looking to establish homes there and it ain't gonna happen on my watch.  DIE!!!
5.  Prepare a BBQ for this fabulous sunny afternoon and bake a cherry pie with the frozen cherries from last season.   There is going to be a ton of cherries and plums again to judge by the blossoms and busy bees. So we had better get busy emptying out the freezer and get ready.

We will have country pork ribs seared over carbon emitting charcoal briquettes, potato salad, green salad, fruit salad and French bread.  Maybe some daiquiris or margaritas while we are waiting for the meat to cook.

Probably not the approved sanctioned 'green' activities for Earth Day, but celebrate the way you want and we will celebrate in our own way.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

A Perfect Moment

The other day I had a perfect moment in an already pretty good day. 

You know.... one of those moments when you realize that everything is GOOD.  Despite what you hear, it can be good.  Things are fine, peaceful, calm and happy.  When you are suddenly thankful for the moment.  For the small things that make life worthwhile.  When everything somehow comes together to create that moment of perfection.

I was:

Standing at the sink:  listening to random selections of music from my computer. Preparing to make a new recipe that I have never tried before.  An upside down caramel apple cake.

Peeling the apples:.  Apples that we had picked from our orchard last fall. September.  The first year that we have had such an abundance of fruit.  The entire valley was filled with an unusual abundance of fruit.  People were begging to give away the abundance because no one wanted to waste the fruit.  We had kept several bushels of apples in the pump house and these were some from September.  Marveling at the ability of this wonderful fruit to still be crisp and golden delicious from months ago.

Looking through the garden window above the sink.: watching the light snow falling over the fields across the river below the bluff.  I could see the geese settling in to weather the storm. Watching them navigate through the snow and landing onto the field below.  So happy to have to have this view of nature and beauty instead of looking at the tired, dirty, soiled backside of another building.

Thankful for my warm snug house:  heat from the Wolf Range preheating adding to the warmth in the house.  Bright and cherry  (even on a snowy day) from skylights and windows that face the sun.

Appreciating the lovely kitchen that my husband and I designed  and built, 11 years ago.  A kitchen where everything is exactly where I want it to be.  Everything at my fingertips.  Spices, flour, utensils.  My kitchen is a well oiled machine. 

Anticipating how this recipe might turn out.   Hoping that it will be a "keeper".  Waiting for my husband to come home from YET another hard day of physical and dirty work.  Work that he loves and work that keeps us able to enjoy this life.  I appreciate how hard he now that i"m not making the big commisions in stock trades....I peel the apples.

Listening to the music with half an ear....suddenly it all jelled, when this song played

It had it all. 
A perfect moment in a really great day.  Life is GOOD.

AND the cake turned out fabulous.  Here is the recipe on my other blog.

**Added:  I laugh everytime I watch this video because the people dancing are just hilarious.

Friday, March 02, 2012

The Universal Train Ride: More musings on life and death

In comments Windbag made the observation that some deaths are just like mule kicks.

It is true.

We expect that people who are older and infirm are going to die.  It is just the natural way of life.  We have the time to get used to the idea.  Gradually accept that the end is near. The sand is visibly running out.   We can rationalize the death because we have been able to come to terms with it.

You may think: "She was so ill for such a long time it is a mercy."  "He has had a long and productive life full of family and friends. His legacy will live on."  Or even "He led such a terrible life with drugs and alcohol that it is no wonder that he didn't go sooner."      And so on.

It's a kick in the gut when someone young is suddenly gone.  Suddenly.  With no warning.  No gradual acceptance.  Just ...wham...boom....gone.    

When I was young, I had a good friend who was pregnant at the same time as I.   (I must say here that I don't have a lot of  very close friends and haven't had very many women friends in my life.  Perhaps 3 or 4.  Lisa was one of those)  We shared the experience.  Our two young families bonded through the experience.  We were like family.

Through the good and bad, we shared the experience. Anticipation of what our babies would look like.  Would it be a boy or girl? Healthy...God willing.   Will my baby be smart, beautiful, handsome, athletic.   Laughed at stories of the physical side of pregnancy. Morning sickness.  Inconvenient bodily function accidents.  We laughed and worried together.  Supported each other and drew strength from each other.

Her beautiful daughter was born just 4 months before mine.  The children played together and became like sisters.

Suddenly, at the age of 30, Lisa had a seizure while driving to work to her job as a nurse in the local hospital..... and ran into a tree.  Suddenly her 2 1/2 year old child was motherless and her young husband was a widower.  No warning. No explanation. Just....wham...boom....gone.

The funeral was attended by friends, who were also in their 20's and 30's.   Each and everyone of us had been slapped in the face with our own mortality. Stunned.  Mule kicked.  The two girls didn't understand, of course, what was happening and continued to play happily with each other, as always.  Unaware that things had changed forever in the wink of an eye.

Keagan's First Birthday
Watching their innocence, I thought, this could be me.   This could be my daughter who is motherless.  Who would grow up and never know me, except as a story told by someone else.   It could be me who was suddenly gone and I would not have the joy of watching my daughter grow from a baby to a woman with children of her own.   As has happened....did I mention that I am a new Grandmother with a fabulously smart and talented Grandson  :-)

From that time on, I was aware that each moment could be my last.  It could be anyone's last.   

So....what does this have to do with the Universal Train Ride?
Get to the point will ya!

We are all on the same train going down the tracks.  Some of us get on at different stops, before or after each other.   We all have different designated stops to leave the train.    Some people, like my friend, have a very short train trip.  Others have a long ride.    However, you never know when your stop is coming up.......until the conductor calls your name.

So....enjoy the train ride, because you will not know how long or short it is or when your ticket will be punched.  I try.  Sometimes I fail, but most often I am enjoying the ride and the scenery.

I wonder what the destination will look like.  I hope it is nice.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Sand in the Hourglass

Sad news today.  Andrew Breitbart  is dead at the very young age of 43.  He was a tireless champion of truth and fighting against the liberal media propaganda machine.  But....this post isn't really about Breitbart.  There will be plenty of people who can recap the life and importance of what Breitbart has accomplished and what his work means to all of us.

This post is about something that I and my husband have discussed and have been thinking about more and more as time goes on.  All around us we see friends and family getting older.  Sometimes with grace.  Sometimes not, railing against the enviable and denying the reality of age.  We see our friends and family facing failing health, failing minds and eventually death.    

We see ourselves.

We are all born with a certain amount of sand in our hourglass.  We have been allotted just so much time here on earth.  What happens after the sand runs out?  Who knows.  Doesn't matter.

What matters is what you do and how you act now.

It is obvious to us that at the ages of 62, that there is now more sand in the bottom of our hourglass than there can be remaining in the top.   How much sand?  Who knows?  We may have just a few grains left.  We may have many more years of sand to enjoy. 

One thing for certain is that the sand in the top of our hourglass is worth more to us NOW than it was 50 years ago.  In those days the sand was something we didn't think about.  There was an endless amount of sand to be wasted and frittered away.   

We didn't appreciate the meaning of the sand in the hourglass because it was full on the top. 

Now that the sand is running out, every day is a treasure to be appreciated.  We don't have the luxury of being oblivious to life.     Wasting the remaining grains on meaningless anger.   With people you don't like.  On drudgeries that can be avoided.

I plan to use my remaining sand on the little, peaceful things that make me happy.  Spend my grains of sand by being with people that I love. 

Enjoying the activities that may not be changing the world or impacting society.  Just appreciating that each day and each grain of sand is a precious gift. 

Today: I will read a book.  Bake an apple tart with the remaining summer apples from the trees in our orchard.  Throw some grain to the quail in the snow and from my office window, watch the woodpeckers and great northern flickers enjoy the suet squares in wire baskets nailed to the trees.  Perhaps finish a knitting project and peruse my craft books to plan the next one.  I will call a good friend who is in assisted living, because tomorrow, her sand may run out.

I will enjoy cocktails and dinner and conversation with my husband.  Snuggle together under our warm down comforter with the cat trying to sleep in the middle of the bed while it snows outside.

I will be thankful that we still have some sand left and appreciate every grain.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Defending Paula Deen

Big news!!!!  Earth shattering in fact....evidently, if you consider the amount coverage that this has been getting.  More important than the kudzu of deficits that are swallowing the earth's economies.  More devastating than Obama's gun running scheme. Fast and Furious.   Bigger than....well, you get the gist.

Paula Deen, the queen of butter and Southern Style comfort food, has diabetes and the food police are doing a happy happy joy dance.  AHA!!! That's what she gets for forcing all of her viewers to eat red velvet cake, fried chicken with gravy, macaroni and cheese and other such items that the food Nazi's despise.   

Serves her right!!  Right?  Right??  No.  Wrong.

People are attacking Deen because she has diabetes, has continued with her show and is now endorsing a diabetes drug.   "Anthony Bourdain is .....mocking the butter-loving chef for poisoning Americans with unhealthy food ... and now trying to profit off of their illness."

She is POISONING us!!!  OMG!!!!.  Run for the hills.  Be sure to dodge all those buttermilk biscuits, hams and sweet potato casseroles while you are making your dash to safety.

In defense of Paula Deen.   Come on people! it is just a cooking show.  Not a diet plan.  She is showing you how to prepare certain dishes that are the hallmarks of a certain cooking style.   Nowhere and at no time does she say that you should eat all of these things every day, three times a day.    

If you don't have the common sense or self control to eat sensibly...well, I don't know what to tell you.   Maybe you shouldn't be allowed outside and you should let other people make your decisions for you.   Oh.....wait.....that is just what the Food Nazi's want to do.

They want to control every aspect of your culinary life by eliminating ingredients. Demonizing certain foods and certain companies that provide food.  Can we all say McDonald's....hmmmm?   The want to force their ideas of diet and food upon you.  

Now, I don't think you SHOULD eat a pound of butter or stuff your pie hole with pie until you are fat and diabetic.  But, it should be your choice.  Go ahead. Eat your life away.  

It should also be my choice, our choice to not have to pay for your self inflicted health condidtion.  This is why I strongly object to Obama Care and Socialized Medicine.  But.....that is a rant for another day.

Let me make a disclaimer.  The Dumbplumber (my hubby) has Type 2 diabetes.  It runs in his family and he was diagnosed about 10 years ago.  We didn't know much about being diabetic.  We had to research and learn how to live.  So, I know what it is like to change your life, change your diet and be aware of what you are eating. at all times.  It is hard. It isn't always fun.

The keys to controlling diabetes are diet and exercise.  His condition is controlled by this and a minimal dose of oral medication.  Does this mean that we will never be able to enjoy a piece of cake or a favorite comfort food ever again?    Do we have to wear a dietary hair shirt and eat tofu daily?  

Of course not. 

I post many recipes on my cooking site [Recipe Junkie] that are certainly high fat, high sugar and would throw The Dumbplumber into a diabetic spiral if he ate them all at one time or more than just occasionally.   Leave Paula Deen alone.  She not only shows us how to make good food, she can now serve as an example on how to live a good life with diabetes.

We have learned that you CAN have your cake and eat it too.   Just in moderation.