Thursday, April 30, 2009

A question within a question

Today I was asked a question about making stew. Did you know that stew (which is two or more foods cooked together in the same pot) has been around since early Roman times? Stew as we know it is probably more closely related to Hungarian Goulash, which has been around since the 9th Century. Dried meat and vegetables were easy to pack and even easier to reconstitute in a pot of water over the fire. The recipe for stew has not remained unchanged. It has been altered and adapted based on the country, the chef and, above all, personal taste. In fact, there is no ‘one’ recipe for stew. One particular site had over 530 recipes for stew! Do you think there is really a wrong way to make stew?? I don’t know of any two people who, by following the same recipe, would produce two pots of stew that tasted exactly the same. I dare say, even the same person, following the same recipe, will create a pot of stew today that tastes different than the pot of stew from last week. Too salty, too peppery, undercooked/ overcooked vegetables, tough meat, too runny, too thick, too hot, too cold, not enough vegetables, not enough meat. You just keep trying, knowing you’re doing the best you can with the ingredients you have. Seems like putting together a pot of stew parallels the life of a mom of a two-year-old, huh?

Sometimes the correct answer to, “When I make stew, do I brown the meat or not?” is simply, “You are a fantastic mom and don’t you ever think otherwise!”

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Look how far

There's a new digital television station that plays old movies. Don't ask me what their selection process is because most of them are eyebrow raisers. Anyway, one of the station's ads says something like they play "movies with great stars before they were stars". The other day I was watching a movie while I was exercising and I was thinking, "This is so lame. The plot is lame. The acting is lame. It's lame." My next thought was what the actors/actresses themselves think about these 'beginnings' when they watch them. Do they get embarrassed? Do they wish they hadn't taken that particular part? Do they judge their performance by what they are capable of today, not realizing they were probably doing the best they knew how at the time? Do they see these movies for what they are - stepping stones - to what they are now (be that good or bad)? Of course, then I found myself wondering how I would react if I were watching a movie with me in the starring role from a time "before I am what I am today". Would I be wondering why I took on that particular role or chose to portray that attitude at that particular time? Would I be thinking, "This is so lame"? Or would I be watching it thinking, “Wow, look how lame I still am….I mean….look how far I’ve come!” Have I really come that far? I hope so.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Open to Interpretation...

I got to go and watch Mariah play soccer this morning. It brought back lots of memories of Thursdays and Saturdays sitting at the park in Delta watching the boys play. Mariah got to play goalie in the first quarter and I post these particular pictures in humor. In the first one she's obviously getting instructions from her dad. The second picture was just a few minutes later and is the one that caused me to take a second look at my little lover-&-protector-of-all-things-breathing, Mariah. I have to wonder what kind of instructions her dad was giving her because it sure looks like she took out at least one player as she focused on getting the ball. (It had been raining and was still raining off and on so the grass was slick. I'm sure the other player just slipped and fell.) But still it looks a little questionable. Mariah played great, stopped a lot of balls from going into the net and ran as hard as anyone on the team.

We had Alan's birthday party this afternoon. He turned 55 last Tuesday. Doesn't that mean he should get senior discounts???? I have to say he's certainly been a great husband, father and grampa! He's worked hard all our married life to provide for our family and our children are lucky to have all made his work ethics a part of their lives also.

I give up. The pictures won't go where I want them and now the text is messed up. Maybe it's a sign I should call it a day!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Second Thoughts

I have learned that the reason it's so therapeutic to write things down, either through letters or journaling, is because it causes your brain to slow down so you can better process your thoughts. I have written in my journal in order to sort out my current feelings and so I wasn't going to post anything but I have had second thoughts. I guess I need more processing so bear with me.

My friend from work passed away last night after being on life support since Monday afternoon. I got through Monday because I could see how good it was she was in our office when she collapsed because there were people there to help her. Otherwise she would have died at home alone. When her situation looked glum, I had to rethink. Some situations really hang me up on the 'whys' and this is one of those. Finally last night, I was able to come to peace with it. Because this happened at our office and she was revived, her family was able to have closure. They were able to say goodbye. Maybe she wasn't responsive but it gave them some peace. Her mother, her children and grandchildren wouldn't have had that opportunity if she had died so suddenly alone at her home. I can accept that. She is one whom I definitely look forward to meeting again - when all things have been restored to their perfect state. She will be even more amazing than I found her here on earth!

People come into our lives for a reason, no matter how briefly. I'm grateful I believe that and I hope I can be more open to what they have to teach me in the future!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Playing time, Changing time

Tyler, Layne and Carter got to have a sleepover at my house awhile ago. I told them I had a surprise for them. They ate their supper and cleaned up the floor in preparation. I brought out two large totes full of Nathan's and Joseph's GI Joe toys from 20 some odd years ago. Oh, my! You'd have thought it was the best day of their lives when they saw what was revealed when the lids came off. Nathan and Krisy were there at the time and (I wish I'd gotten a picture) Nathan flew out of the chair, his plate of food in one hand and fighting off the three little boys with the other hand while rummaging through one of the totes. I'm really not sure how he managed it but he finally pulled out a vehicle and proudly held it up to show Krisy. "This was my favorite GI Joe vehicle. My favorite!" The little boys played the entire night with the toys and even parked them in specific places when they went to sleep. There seemed to be one major change in the way they played, however. Nate and Joe used to set it all up and have battles. There are even various body parts of broken GI Joes they used for the casualties. There was strategy and planning. These three boys got everything sorted out and manned all the vehicles and then proceeded to sell their weapons! I thought it was an interesting change in play that seemed to adapt to the times, anyway.
One of the other most favorite things to play at our house is Hide and Seek. It was hilarious watching Hunter dive under the pillow to hide! The best places are often right out in the open, right???

Monday, April 20, 2009


. . . so briefly I just had a 70-yr-old mother drop off her 53-yr-old daughter in my office, having pretty much washed her hands of her. She's had it, she says. Mental illness sometimes is more straining than physical ailments. Mom and daughter have had a huge fight. Mom can't even look at her daughter. For various reasons, daughter sits in my office for over an hour. We talk a little but not much since, not only does her mental illness inhibit her desire for conversation, but she's been on a three-day-drunk. A therapist takes her into another room and gets her some food, leaves her for five minutes so I can fill her in on what's going on. When she goes back to check on her, she finds her on the floor, unresponsive and not breathing. Pandemonium sets in as 911 calls are made, directions given, life-saving procedures are put into play. The dust has settled. They got her on life support and to the hospital. The LifeFlight helicopter just flew over. My insides are in the fetal position. All I can think about is what her mother will go through when she realizes the severity of what has happened and how their last conversations were confrontational and how many words she said that didn't need to be said and how many words didn't get said that should have been said. So . . . kids, grandkids, family & friends, (you, too, hubby) . . . don't go getting all disgusted with me when I make sure I tell you I love you, especially when you're leaving. At least those are some last words I could live with. RTILYA!!!!

Looking for a flower

In case someone reading this hasn't realized it yet . . . it's Monday. Who in their right mind starts the work week with a Monday?? I want to start in on a Wednesday or a Heyday or something besides a Monday! Yes, I'm having a crazy day and that's not just because of where I work, either. Or maybe it is. Who knows. Anyway it will get better and I will end up having a good day. Did you know we have created 20 - yes 20 - definitions for the word "good"? Why have we made our lives so complicated? Give me back the world of a child. I'll take it in a heartbeat.

My grandkids fascinate me because everything they see is a wonder. They have no clutter to look past in order to see the beautiful things in their world. Yet. I don't see things anymore, I don't think. Everything I look at is a concept or a burden or a reminder of something left undone or waiting to be done. There is not simply a flower. In fact, I can't see the flower without straining through hard water deposits on my windows that I really should be cleaning off. When I do focus on the budding beauty, it has become a flower that should be picked if I want more to bloom. It's a flower in a flower garden that is in dire need of weeding. Or it's a flower on the weed itself which means it's not really a flower anyway, it's a weed, and I should be pulling it. The older I get the more I feel like one giant collage of magazine pictures glued on top of each other. Remember those school projects? Only now, since my poster board was long ago covered, I'm pasting layers on layers. Shouldn't we reach a point where they take the glue away and we get to start peeling the images off until we reveal our basic, simple, 'good' foundation layer? Maybe that's part of the meaning in becoming like a child. Hmmm

Well, here's hoping you have a 'good' day with lots and lots of flowers in it! The 'good' kind of flowers, of course!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Inspiration

Growing up, I was always making tents. Ropes strung across the front porch. Blankets hung on them with clothespins. Many hours were spent with a suitcase full of Mom's fabric scraps, a needle & thread, snaps & buttons, as I made clothes for my troll dolls and Barbie dolls. (Wow, trolls to Barbies - that's quite the diversity!) Of couse, no one could get to the front door. Usually one end of the rope was hooked to the mailbox that was mounted on the house so the mailman had to be creative when he left the mail. We had a square clothesline in the backyard that made a cool tent because you could actually have four 'walls'. For Jodi's second birthday, I had the epiphelation to make her a tent that could be thrown over a card table. Since then, I have given each one of my grandkids a tent or teepee sometime around their second birthday. I wasn't on the ball enough with Ty, though, so he got a teepee when he was a little older. I wanted to share the inspiration for that epiphelation with you. Thank goodness my sister still has it and was nice enough to share pictures with me. I have fond memories of playing in this tent when I was little. I had graham crackers and milk and chanted "Romper Stomper Bomper Boo, Tell me, tell me, tell me true. Have all my friends had fun today?" with Miss Julie and her magic mirror while sitting in this tent. Mom used to put a pop bottle underneathe it right in the center so it really looked like a circus tent. Hmmm . . . maybe it's time I make me a tent of my own!!

Oops . . .

There were so many options when I set up my blog. I still am wary of the whole "information on the internet" scenario, too, so I was very conservative in all my choices. Evidently I was a little too restrictive in the "comment" section. There were like four choices as far as who could leave comments and I thought the one I picked referred to "anyone" I had invited in but obviously it didn’t. So I've now gone the other extreme and checked "anyone" figuring "anyone" wouldn’t apply to "anyone" not invited since those particular "anyones" wouldn’t be there in the first place. Besides, I don't want a one-dimensional experience here. So . . . share your comments. Hopefully you're a member of the "anyone" group!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Life Lived

She would have been 93 today. An elect, elegant lady. Though I know she prayed for cups to pass by, she handled every trial with dignity and strength of character. A strength of character one only obtains after having walked through the fire a few times - several times. As I have repacked afghans she crocheted, I am reminded of how she did not let her loss of sight stop her from keeping her hands busy. Her hobbies paralleled her worsening eyesight. She went from sewing to counted cross stitching detailed pictures to needlepointing on plastic canvas to crocheting. Each change a little larger until her crocheted projects were mostly based on granny squares because it was easier to feel the holes and know where the next stitch needed to be. She only asked for help in matching colors. She went from reading books to listening to them on tape; from writing in her flourished cursive handwriting to using bold black pens on paper with raised lines so she could keep it straight to the large wipe-off board that hung in her kitchen. I still have a picture of her last word puzzles on that board. Her mind never stopped. I'm sure she stepped right into whatever awaited her with the same strength she exhibited here. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Something New

My mother believed you should learn something new every day so starting this blog is today's new learning experience! I just want a place to share the joy I find in motherhood and grandmotherhood as well as my random, off-the-wall thoughts. Maybe it will even be my record of the new things I learn each day. Who knows? Maybe it won't last beyond this posting!