Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Heart Hurts

Picture taken late December 2007 at our annual Girls Night Out

My heart hurts.

I have lost my best girlfriend, my closest and most trusted confidant, my mentor and greatest cheerleader, my Mama.

It was three weeks yesterday and yet I am still undone by overwhelming bouts of grief that overtake me like I’ve been punched in the stomach. It knocks the wind out of me when once again the realization that I will never again talk with her hits me. It is different from the absolute panic I felt as she weakened and I feared we were losing her. It hurts even more than I thought possible, and I feel more lonely than I ever have.

Several times each and every day I think of something I want to tell her, a little snippet of my day, maybe something that struck me as funny, to share a small victory for one of my children, or when I need a sympathetic ear or a bit of a pep talk. Next to my husband, she was the first person I wanted to share good news with and the best person to share bad news with as she always had the time, the unconditional love and the ability to make me feel better, just be being there.

Mama, I miss you so very much! If you are watching from heaven, know that I am trying to be strong, trying to carry on like you would have done, like I know you want me to, but it is so very hard.

My umbilical cord may have been cut, seperating us forty six years ago but I miss your touch, the thrill of what I call the cellular recognition I experienced when we held each other, the knowing I felt this body also is mine, or more truly, I was of you and will always be. I have lost a third of me, the part that was before, it has been cleaved by death. As long as I draw breath I will always have the now, as that is me. I pray to God I never lose what has become, my children. With the promise of tomorrow, I look foward to what will be. The day when I hold my grandbabies in my arms and I will recognize them both in my heart and in the cells of my being. I remember Mama telling me as she held my newborn daughter, her firstborn grandbaby that as she held her, she knew the baby was also hers, she could feel it. Another bond between mother and child, a grandchild. Please God, grant me this also before I go.

So, now I will once again, set aside my grief for a respite that keeps me sane and functioning, and will start my day. To welcome the Christmas season and keep the true meaning of it foremost in my mind. I know Mama would be telling me that life goes on and I must live it, so I will, with God's help and that of my family. Thank you, God, for giving me the large and loving family I will wrap about myself and draw strength from to carry on. May I also be a source of strength for them, too.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

8/28/2008: My Baby Girl is 240 months old today...

DaughterA @ 18 months
This morning, I want to wish a very Happy 20th Birthday to our Baby-Girl. Although, she will not officially arrive at the 2 decade mark till 9:48pm, she maintains that we celebrate birth-days, not birth-minutes so we will start the celebration early!
Even at birth she was eager and ready to go! A fast delivery, after labor of only three and a half hours, she burst into our lives with energy and an eagerness for life! A tiny bundlle of live-wire with the most beautifully shaped mouth and a smile that still lights up a room!

Today, she is a beautiful, thoughtful and loving young woman. I am in awe of the tiny babe, I once held in my arms, has grown into such an amazing person. She works full-time in a lead position of the photo department for a major chain store while carrying a full credit load at college. And yet, she still finds time for family and friends and to pursue her love of photography.

And boy, does she ever adores babies! And it's mutual, she draws children to her like a magnet! She will be a wonderful mother when the times comes to marry and start a family!
That thought gives me goosebumps, thinking about how it will feel when I see her as I can still see myself, if I but close my eyes. Closing my eyes, I can still see her infant smile looking up at me while in my arms, and if I concentrate I swear I can feel the weight of her little head against my breast and smell the sweetest little soft spot on top of her head. It comes back so quickly and so powerfully it brings tears to my eyes.

Today is one of the three special days that I thank God for giving me the precious Gift of life!

Tonight, as I watched our family interact with each other while dining out, celebrating, laughing and sharing our day with each other, I am most aware that it is a Gift that still continues on. I am aware this Gift of life expands ever onward into my future, unfolding in new and unexpected ways as I see my children grow into adulthood.
What a blessing!!! Thank you, Lord for this day and for all you have given me.

DaughterA @ 240 months ( minus 2.5 hours)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yikes! Summer, you are not aging well....

I can hardly believe that August is over half gone! As much as I’ve tried to ignore it, I see the maples trees are beginning to color up. I’ve also noticed that the porch light is on again when I go to leave in the morning. That means that once again, it’s still dark when DearHusband leaves for work at 4:45am. All too soon it’ll be dark when I leave for work at 7:15am. I am definitely not ready for that yet!

I saw my first flock of geese flying in V-formation on my way home today. Southward, even!

However, I do have to admit that I’ve been enjoying the cooler weather that moved in with last weekend’s thunderstorms. I love the sunshine but I do best when temperatures stay below 80 degrees. Of course, 85 is nice when accompanied with a tropical trade wind and a mai tai!

I took stock of my flower baskets today and they, too are looking like it’s late summer. The majority are rather overgown and rangy. Time to weed ‘em out and substitute in some pansies or mums. Not ready to plant flowering kale yet, that’s too much like Autumn!

This year I did some experimenting with my deck planters and window boxes. Instead of planting giant marigolds, I used calendula, thinking lots of smaller yellow/cream/orange flowers might be nicer than one or two giant flowers at a time. I’ll never do that again! That was definitely a mistake! Calendulas belong out in the landscape .

I think the abundant fertilizer caused lots of early greenery that was huge compared to the stock, purple petunias and geraniums planted at the same time. Later, the calendula leaves turned brown and spotty even when kept well watered. Next year I’ll go back to the giant marigolds for my splashes of yellow and orange in my mixed pots and baskets.

An experiment that went very well was the pots of fragrant heliotrope (clusters of dark purple long lasting flowers that remind me of my Papa’s tobacco pouch--cherry vanilla with smokey undertones), white verbena and yellow/orange lantana. They smell wonderful and the blooms contrast very nicely. As do the different shades of greenery. The heliotrope leaves are dark green and larger than the lantana and verbena, which have a lighter shade of greenery.

Another sign that autumn is approaching? All the spring bulb catelogues are arriving. Decisions, decisions!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Finish every day...

Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How does my garden grow?

These nasturiums are volunteers, came up from the potting soil I reused from last year's baskets and pots. From this angle, they are about all you can see in this mixed flower pot. How big to do think these leaves are?

How about a point of reference?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dining vs Eating

Okay, I have to confess it's been another busy and hectic spring. All workday long, I look forward to getting outside as soon as errands and sports are done, to putter with my plants till it's time to call it a day, and take a walk around the block to enjoy the last of the sunset.

Housekeeping had fallen to the bottom of my priority list. That has been remedied. With DaughterA cracking the whip last weekend, we conquered the clutter in the living room and dining room, giving those rooms a deep and thorough spring cleaning. We sorted through all that had collected on the dining room table, put away the scanner and laptops, filing and assorted piles of books and have actually enjoyed dinner at the table this week!

I am embarrassed to admit but it has been an unusual occurance in this house lately. One that has, appparantly, not gone unnoticed.

Thursday evening, as we were dining at the table again, SonMySon asked if we have to eat Friday dinner at the table, too? I remarked why not? that's actually what it's supposed to be used for.

In the best School of Overacting method ala William Shatner doing dramatic scene as Capt William T Kirk, SonMySon says,

"Dinner. at table. again. . (pause for dramatic sigh). . Butt. .Craves. .Couch." and falls limply aside his plate, reaching out towards the living room.

Ah, humor, gotta love it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Missing You

It almost felt like summer...

Today, I enjoyed a lazy late afternoon holding down the chaise lounge in the backyard. Ignoring all the chores I should be doing, I enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my back as I laid on my tummy. I found it increasingly difficult to read thru my eyelids! Drowsy and warm, I gave up the overwhelming effort to keep my eyes open and settled on focusing on what I was hearing. Bees buzzing, sparrows singing, red wing blackbirds calling, house finches twittering and mostly, hummingbirds swooping past buzzing my red hair. One came so close I could feel the air it’s wings displaced tickle my ear as I laid there with the sun on my face.

After dozing for awhile I sat up to read. I was about six feet from the small apple tree that has a cedar birdfeeder hanging next to it. Holding very still, I was amazed at the activity at the feeder. The smaller the bird, the more carefree and daring. They didn’t care if I moved or not. The larger birds, the sparrows up to the blackbirds and grosbeaks were very wary of my being so close. The kept a watchful eye on me. I noticed that it was okay to move as long as my head was down angled towards my book, then it was okay to move my arm to turn the page. But if my head was up and looking at them, any movement at all would cause them to fly off, scolding me again.

All too soon, the sun got low enough to be blocked by the house on the road behind us and I found that the small fleece blanket I’d been using as a pillow wasn’t enough to keep me warm enough to continue to read outside. I was quite surprised to see that it was 8pm! It is now 9:50 and the sky is still tinged with the last colors of the sunset! And although the not-quite full moon is bright and shining looking out the window at the front of the house, the sky is still light looking out the back of the house into the west and the sunset over the water. It’s an enjoyable contrast, sort of like when it’s raining on one side of the street and dry on the other side of the street. Nighttime in the front yard, still only evening in the backyard!

Friday, June 13, 2008

How can I have a daughter old enough to be a college graduate?

Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday when I was graduating from high school, ready to conquer the world. Then I was a bride, creating a home, feeling so grown up. Then suddenly I was a mother with three children under the age of 5, with so much to learn! Now I find myself with DaughterS proudly displaying her degree, DaughterA working towards hers and my baby... As of yesterday, my baby is now a senior in high school.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thought to ponder...

Anything unattempted remains impossible.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Snapshot of my flowers...

I think the clematis likes it's home. The pots of lilies on either side should be pretty showy this year, they came back twice as tall as last year! I think the purple wallflowers (in the foreground and opposite side of the front walkway) are going to have to be transplanted to somewhere else in the yard, they are too tall and hide the pond from view.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A prayer for our men and women in service of these United States of America

Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands.
Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless acts
they perform for us in our time of need.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Can it be considered a Saturday chore when I've been looking forward to it for so long?

Finally! I was able to get to the wholesale nursery and shop for my hanging baskets! The day dawned early, cool and wet, rainy, rainy, rainy, but the radio station was promising sun breaks for later in the day.

After preparing the old van to play flower delivery vehicle, which included 1. emptying it's 'bound for the Goodwill' cargo of boxes and boxes of old household goods and bags and bags of clothes the kids have out-grown, and 2. jumpstarting the old battery; SonMySon (sleepily and grudgingly) in tow, we headed out to Pacific Growers.

I let him continue to sleep after arrival while I wandered through greenhouse after greenhouse to see all the different sizes and kinds of hanging baskets. My favorite are the ones with the large old fashioned purple petunias in them but I also enjoy a couple of mixed variety of baskets.

Here's a couple of shots from inside the nursery. The first shows all the hanging baskets above, with the flats of bedding plants below. The second shows the staging area where they pull the commercial orders awaiting the semi trucks to take them to market.

Any wonder I can lose hours and hours wandering thru the fragrances in the warm bright light?

I was tickled to find so many of the bedding plants that I've been waiting to arrive at the garden center of the local variety store (you know the one that boasts One Stop Shopping) originate here! I helped myself to a full flat each of purple double Petunias, mixed variety of Calendulas, sapphire blue trailing Lobelia, mixed old fashioned heavenly-fragranced Stock. Buying at the nursery brought the price down to $.25 a plant! I also got a variety of geraniums for the centers of my flower pots for only $2 ea, as opposed to $3.50!

As promised, by late afternoon the sun was shining and I scrubbed out my seven window box planters in preparation of this year's plants. I am out the door here pretty quickly to start planting....

The day ended on a perfect note. Family gathered around our small backyard fireplace. Soon the kids dispersed and DearHusband and I sat quietly watching the crackling fire, and listening to the soft sounds of Big Band Love Songs. Later, as the neighborhood settled in for the night, I could hear the surf of the bay just a block away, and the tree frogs calling to each other while I gazed at the stars up above. Heaven in a small backyard.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

"Can You Remember....?"

I was prompted to think about the first meal I cooked as a new bride by a website that I visit almost everyday, {edited to remove link and website and personal info per other blogwriter} comments on her daily life are qu herite often very funny and I enjoy the peek into everyday life of a busy family of 5 in the Midwest. My youngest child is the same age as her oldest and I enjoy her comments on their life as a prompt to remembering the happenings in my own life at that time. I also enjoy the regional contrasts to our way of life in the Pacific Northwest.
Engagement Portrait
24 years ago this month

I have been wracking my brain for a couple of days now, and I cannot remember the first meal I cooked as a new bride. I do remember, however, what we ate most! Turkey legs! I could get them (frozen) for $.29 Lb and cooked them in my pressure cooker with seasoning salt, onion, celery and sometimes carrots for the flavor. After deboning the meat, I served it in a variety of ways. The favorite way of my young bridegroom was in gravy over mashed potatoes. Sometimes we add a couple slices of bread and call it a Hot Turkey Sandwich.

Any one remember the old commercial where the husband sitting at the table would look at the bowl of mashed potatoes his wife was about to serve him from when he would remark, “Oh! Potatoes! How are you serving them tonight, Dear?” The next sound you heard was a resounding PLOP and cut to the product they were advertising. Not that I remember what it was, other than an change of pace from potatoes.

“How’d you fix them tonight, Dear?” became the running joke in our house.

Ah, the memories. Funny how I can still see my first pantry in our first apartment so clearly in my mind, all those years ago! Twenty fours years ago next month…how can it be that long ago? Isn’t it an oddity, to have it seem so very long ago in life and yet be so amazed at how quickly the time has gone?

Our first home on Rucker Avenue in Everett.

The livingroom as viewed from the front door.

The only bedroom,
as viewed from the hallway
coming off of kitchen.

The bedroom from beside the bed,
doorway to the right of dresser.

The tiny bathroom, at end of short hallway off of kitchen.

I apparently didn't take a picture of the diningroom. It was quite roomy as all we had in it was a circa 1950's dinette table, chrome edges and legs, formica top and 4 mis-matched chairs.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Rare Day: Friday off from work with Sunshine!

As you can see from this picture, Friday morning was bright and sunny, if a little cool. I snapped these photos looking out the livingroom window. Here a little finch was feasting on a dandelion gone to seed.

I was really disappointed when I called Pacific Growers Friday morning to find out what time they opened and if were they selling their hanging baskets yet, only to find out that they now only sell to the general public on Saturday mornings from 8am to 12noon. Oh, and did I mention we were on our way out of town for the weekend?

Mother Nature can be really cruel!
It has not escaped my notice that the only 2 weekends in spring that the weather has been above freezing, not snowing, nor raining has been the same weekends I've had long standing plans to be out of town! Doesn't seem fair! Yes, I'll admit it, I'm guilty of pouting.

The bright side is it's a good thing I wasn't able to get my baskets Friday before we left town as we had a hard frost Friday night. So I guess it all worked out for the best in the end!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hummingbird Heaven!

What a difference a day makes, as they say. Two days ago we had snow, the night before last a light frost but today was warmer and rainy. But as everyone was saying, at least it was a WARM rain. The rain let up for the afternoon and the wind was slight. It was pleasant, even had the backdoor open for awhile.

Tonight at dusk found us enjoying our first backyard campfire, laughing at the antics of the male hummingbirds as they charged after each other, three of them in the backyard trying to keep each other from the two feeding stations. So many clicks and honks it sounded like dueling gigercounters! They are so entertaining, I get so much joy from having them so close!

This is a picture of one of the males at the kitchen window station this evening.

The one quart hummingbird feeding station on the front porch (that was filled Saturday) had to be refilled today, only 4 days later. I've counted as many as seven birds perched similtaneously sipping. Right before dusk they will stop chasing each other away and everyone settles down to one last long top-off-the-tank sipping session.

This has been a great evening. At full dark it was too cold to stay outside, as we let the fire burn down to embers, our backs were getting pretty chilly, even tho' are faces were toasty as we huddled the small fireplace. Now as I sit on the couch, blogging and listening to Linda Rondstadt's "What's New" cd, DaughterA sits on the other end of the sectional taking on online test for her accounting class. DearHusband and SonMySon are on the floor trying to out-strategize each other playing Pente. A very relaxing way to wind down a busy day.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spring Snow Storm

Well, so much for an early spring, and so much for a normal spring, looks like it's going to be a very late spring. Yesterday, half way through April in the gentle Pacific Northwest, we had a snow storm! Now granted, I haven't had to scrape ice from my windshield for 2 weeks now, but just when it barely made it to 50 degrees out, we are slammed back into the thirties. We had enough huge fluffy snowflakes to whiten the roofs and lawns here at home Friday morning. It was a gray, dismal day which alternated between snow, rain, hail and sleet. It felt like January, not April. Thankfully the snow didn't stick for long. Saturday dawned clear and cold. The sun is out between the clouds now and then and the sunshine is warm, but the gusty breeze is quite cold. Glad I brought in the few annuals I couldn't resist and bought even though I haven't prepared my pots and window boxes. The sunflowers and squash seeds I started indoors last week are 6" high with roots stickout out of the little peat pots I started them in. I also had 99% germination rate on the 3 colors of giant Zinnias I started, too. Guess I'll be transplanting seedlings in the kitchen today, as it is way too cold to take them outside!

Cold or not, Saturday jobs must still be undertaken for I have wee birdies to feed! I braved the cold to refill the finch thistle seed feeders, wash and refill my three hummingbird stations and was thoroughly scolded for invading their airspace. I figured it they were that brazen while I was moving about then maybe if I held still, I might snap a few pictures.
Here is a male that frequents the front porch feeder that will be replaced (soon, I hope) with a large beautiful hanging basket.
I had plans to be at the the wholesale nursery called Pacific Growers bright and early this morning, but knew by Wednesday, (when they started predicting snow) that my annual trek to the
nursery was going to have to be postponed for a week, maybe even two. Last year I didn't get there till the weekend before Mother's Day and they had already packed up the majority of their hanging baskets for delivery to the stores througout the area. I really felt that my selection was much more limited than the years that I showed up early, promising to cover them up at night to protect them from late frosts and chilly winds. I am hoping it will warm up considerably this coming week and I can get them soon!

Monday, April 14, 2008

How To Dress For Spring Gardening

Start first with 55 SPF suncreen for face and ears, neck and hands (actually, that ‘s my year-round routine), then a lightweight cotton turtleneck, top with dual layer wool long-johns, both top AND bottoms, sweatpants and top it all off with a thermal weave sweatshirt on top. Head out to garden after donning thick sox and waterproof gardening clogs, lightweight gloves for hand protection and good grip. Now, your are all set for spring gardening in the Pacific Northwet--I mean Northwest. Don’t forget wide brimmed gardening hat--works for rain or sunshine!

Last week Bellingham was all excited…woo-hoo! It got all the way up to 50 on the thermometer! And the forecast for Saturday was projected to get into the 60’s!! Everyone was making plans for being outside. I was kinda bummed as I already had plans to be gone this weekend and wouldn’t be spending it gardening. I went from 50 to 85 degree weather after only a 5 ½ hour drive south! Saturday afternoon, I sat in Sister M’s garden and enjoyed the very warm sun on my back for an hour while we caught up with each other’s news.

Sunday afternoon, Sister A introduced me to a wonderful nursery called Al’s Garden Center in Sherwood, Oregon. Gardening Heaven! What a glorious place! I think I could move right in and be at home! Had to cut my time in paradise short--2 hours, as I was looking at another long drive home. But we did pick up some wonderfully healthy annual starts for our fragrant window boxes. Didn’t get everything for planting yet, but got a good start at it.

Saw actual sunshine between showers today, maybe we've turned a corner on the weather. Could we have seen our last frost this year?

"Are you a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?" Glinda the Good Fairy of North asked Dorothy

Are you a good grub or a bad grub?

Can anyone out there identify this? It's kinda greenish with brown markings. The 2nd photo shows the grub upside down, you can see it's little feet.

I find them occasionally within about an inch or so below the surface of the soil and don’t know whether to leave them alone or not. Just to be on the safe side, I huck them into the field behind our back yard.
That way if they are good, them I have only relocated them. If they are good, I’d like to know so I'll be comfortable about leaving them be.
And if they are a bad grub….maybe a fast flying trip over the back fence isn’t harsh enough!
Please, someone, let me know!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Bright Spots of Sunshine On A Cold Spring Morning

The Goldfinches are wearing their summer plumage and they have found the thistle seed feeders I hung out Wednesday evening. The one next to the flowering cherry tree in the far corner of the front yard gets the most traffic. This picture was snapped from the cozy comfort of my couch, looking out the picture window to the feeder hanging in front of the weeping pussy willow tree behind the small pond. I managed to catch three of the four brightly feathered males along with one little girl.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Calendar says it's Spring...

Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that the calendar is showing Spring. What's with all the snow?

Last Saturday was supposed to be Opening Day for Gardening! It was the day for different local garden clubs' plant sales and the annual fushia planting event at our local Fred Meyer. Peeking out the window early that morning showed snow coming down heavily. Even tho' it wasn't sticking, the wind was blowing and I thought, "Nope, not gonna do it!" And went back to bed! All afternoon it was snowing, raining, sleeting and the sky was the color of a December late-afternoon. Sunday it was mostly sunny but COLD! Our poor hummingbirds, they been back for almost a month now and it isn't getting much warmer out! Is this global warming!?!

Having a couple of hours of daylight after work is really nice! I am itching to get my window boxes planted with showy annuals and to get my hand in the dirt! Unfortunately, we've had a hard frost every night this week! I'm still scraping the car windows every morning! Hopefully, winter will loosen her grip soon--it actually hit 50 degrees out this afternoon!

A quick tour of the yard shows tiny little buds on my pink dogwood tree and lilac bushes; new growth and buds on the clematis vines; the butterfly bush is greening up and my peonies are a couple of inches tall! Yesterday, I spotted a DANDELION IN BLOOM! Never thought I'd get excited about that! lol!

It is now dusk and I am enjoying peeking at the hummingbirds tanking up for the night. I have a feeder on the front porch until I get my hanging baskets. On the backyard side of the house, I have one at the kitchen window and one at my bedroom window. As soon as it warms up a little I'll be able to leave the window open a crack and awaken every morning to their buzzing and honking squeeks! I tried to snap a photo to post but they are very quick and adept at landing on the opposite side of the feeder.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cookie Time!

Never thought I would be posting recipes but this one is definitely worth sharing!

A couple of months ago, I found a recipe on a wonderful blog I visit almost everyday:

This recipe makes cookie batter from a cake mix, 2 eggs and 1/3 cup vegie oil.
I’ve been playing around with it the recipe, trying different flavors and icings and frostings.

My newest favorite tastes like a chewy brownie with chocolate-caramel swirl chips.

Here’s how to make them:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together until smooth:
1 - Devils Food Cake Mix
2 - eggs
1/3 cup - vegetable oil
Then stir in ½ package of Nestle Chocolate Caramel Swirl chips.

This batter is very thick, I’m not sure a hand mixer will be able to handle it, I’ve been using a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

I’ve been using a small cookie scoop to shape the dough into 1 inch balls.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool for 3 minutes before removing cookies to rack to cool completely. With the richness of these cookies, I leave them unfrosted.

This recipe will make about 3 dozen cookies, if you start with ¾-1 inch dough balls.

I really like these cookies as I can mix up the batter, and using a rotation of 3 professional size heavy duty aluminum cookie sheets, be done baking and have the kitchen cleaned back up in less than an hour and a half. Baking might not seem like a giant undertaking to some, but after 8+ hours at a desk, a 40 minutes one way commute, made twice a day, dinner to prepare and a son to take to sports every night, anything above breathing regularly can be overwhelming!!!

Other variations I’ve tried:

Use a Spice Cake mix. Before baking, I use the bottom of a heavy drinking glass dipped in granulated sugar to flatten the cookies. Then frost with a butter cream vanilla frosting spiced with ground cinnamon. I made a single batch Sunday afternoon during the Bowl Game. They didn’t even make it to the ripe old age of 24 hours old. Gone, hence a quick baking session again today!

Use a Lemon Cake Mix (again, flatten balls before baking) and frost with an icing made from lemon juice and powdered sugar. I’ve been adding a drop of yellow food coloring to the frosting and dotting with snow flake sprinkles!

I hope post will encourage someone else, who might be pressed for time, or simply tired after a long day at work, to treat themselves and their family with a home baked batch of love!

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Bald Eagles Are Back!

Today was a glorious day! Clear blue cloudless sky, above freezing and without a cold wind. Best of all we had several bald eagel sightings including this pair sitting in a tall bare tree alongside Grandview Road heading into town.

The Bald Eagles usually return to the Skagit River basin in early February. Could this herald an early spring? (i hope, i hope!)?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Winter loosens her dark hold on us....

Mid January and the days are lengthening!
I am no longer arriving at work at 8am still in the dark, nor going home at 4:30pm again in the dark! If only today's 'chance of showers' hadn't meant snow! I am longing for spring!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

When having a trying day...I'll try to remember....

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.
It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Truth About Cats and Dogs

Just had to share the funniest email I've received in a long time!!

"Excerpts from a Dog's Diary"

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am- A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am- A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30am- Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00pm- Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm- Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm- Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm- Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm- Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm- Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm- Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

"Excerpts from a Cat's Diary"

Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Bastards!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now......

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year Resolutions

New Year resolutions bring to mind the self-improvements I promise myself every year: make better food choices and be more active to improve health and reduce weight and stress. To think kinder thoughts and be mindful of what I say. To be a more loving wife, a better parent, more organized and productive, both at home and the office. To finish projects, craft and home improvements.

How to prioritize all that I want to accomplish?

As I dwell on what should be done, I am reminded that life is a process, a journey. A journey we make by taking it one small decision at a time. I realize that during the day-to-day rush to get things done, I often loose sight of the very things I still am trying to install into my almost grown children.

One of which is: Choices. Small choices, big choices. "Make good decisions" has become a catch phrase.

What I want to do is to be more mindful of the decision making process.

Decisions. Am I making the small decisions that will lead me to make the correct Big Decisions when it faces me. Will I recognize a Big Decision when I come to it? Or will I, in my haste get on with life, think it only a trivial choice and bulldoze my way through it?

My Mama sent me a quote that got me to thinking about all of this:

One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. ----Eleanor Roosevelt

My resolution this year will be to remain mindful of the important points in this quote.

As my children journey into adulthood, I will pray that the choices they make, will be made as a conscious decision towards their end goal, and not a knee-jerk reaction to, or rebellion against the choices I have made in my life's journey.

Fish Lips and other tall tales of travel...

SisterA saw this fish in the Benihani Restaurant in Broomfield, Colorado while on a business trip. She knew no one would believe her tale of a blued eyed square white fish with lips and a chin, so she snapped a photo as proof.
I forgot to ask if he was a mascot for the restaurant or a menu item! *grin*