Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

1 16oz pkg Cornbread Stuffing
1 16oz pkg Herb Seasoned Stuffing
4 cups Chicken Broth
1 1/2 sticks butter (12 TBSP)
2 16 oz pkg Sage Seasoned Pork Sausage
1 cup chopped Celery
1/2 cup choped Sweet Onion
1/2 palmful Poultry Seasoning
1/2 palmful Rubbed Sage Seasoning

Brown sausage, celery, onion, & seasonings in pan together, In a seperate pan heat broth & butter. In a very large bowl combine the cornbread & herb seasoned stuffing mixes. Add the sausage mixture to the dry stuffings & mix well. Then add broth & butter to that & quickly mix until all liquid is absorbed & distrubuted.
This can be used to stuff turkey or chickens, baked seperately or frozen & baked later. This makes a huge amount, but the amounts can be cut in half to make a smaller amount. If you make it ahead you may want to add a bit more broth before baking.
*Optional: add Durkee Fried Onions to the top before baking.

(Posting this for my daughter-in-law Heide, I will update my blog later!)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give thanks..

I didn't decorate the house for Halloween or Thanksgiving this year. My mantle remains the same as all the other days. I am trying to clear the den/man cave to set up the Christmas tree in there eventually. That way it can be protected from kids & dogs when needed. We have a big floor to ceiling tree so the lower branches are subject to getting knocked around by passersby of all species.
This tends to be my season of discontent no matter how I try to force myself to be bright & cheery. Good thing everyone knows me & loves me anyway! There isn't anything anyone can say or do to make it better. It just takes time.. time to cry, time to heal, time to be. People say it gets easier, that someday we'll pass through the darkness & the tears & step out into the sunshine again. At peace with our memories & ourselves.. and it's true.. some days we do. No one can do that for us, we have to know in our hearts that it is ok to laugh again, and slowly but surely we are getting there. Five years might seem like a long time to grieve for some, but for us, it is but a moment in time that has passed.. Kierra was just here, just a teenager, just a little girl, just a baby in my arms.
Today I have been in the kitchen cooking. Not even the traditional Thanksgiving fare, but cooking. I used to call my grandmother alot when I was cooking & had a question. I used to call her just to hear her voice when I was cooking & the familiar smells took me back to her kitchen, her hugs, her love. It isn't just Kierra I miss, especially on days like today. It is supposed to be a time of family, friends, sharing.. making new memories. That is what we try to do. It can be so hard sometimes, but we keep taking each step, one at a time.
We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this morning with the kiddos. They weren't all that interested. It held more childhood memories for Brian & I than it ever will for them. It is a different time, a different age for these little ones. I have many memories of my older children & many Thanksgivings with friends & family. I hold them all close to my heart.
Today may not be what it used to be for us. It may not be more than an ordinary day. But we are here, with each other, which is alot to be thankful for. Hug those around you & make the most of what you have. Give thanks for that and so much more...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love is.. never having to say you're sorry...

hmmm.. what if you say you are sorry yet keep doing the same thing again & again.. does the apology really count? Or if you say you are sorry to someone else, but not the person you offended?.. I am considering more than one incident as I ask these questions. I am considering the same person for all of the above. There is a history of damage done. At what point is enough, enough?

*They were sorry for telling me awful things about my daughter just after she died.. just in case I didn't know..and I think to prove how close they must have been to her to know those things. Afterward they were "sorry" & didn't mean to hurt or upset me.
*They were sorry after upsetting one of my children when they used Kierra as an example (a bad one, after her death) to correct their child in front of mine. Afterward they said they were "sorry" to me.. it wasn't meant the way it sounded. But have yet to apologize to the child of mine they hurt.
*They were sorry after saying an awful, disrespectful thing involving Brian's mother after her death, on the anniversary of our daughter's death. Afterward they have apologized to Brian.. it was uncalled for & they are "sorry". I saw the pain & anger it caused my husband. I have had to deal with the fallout each time this person said something that devestated me or someone I love.

I am glad for Brian that he is of the nature to accept the apology. He has to deal with them. I am not of the same nature & I do not have to deal with them at all anymore.

Don't spew forth a martyrdom speech & expect any compassion from me. I have watched them hurt my family repeatedly. I have heard their apologies & watched them open their mouth & do it again. NO MORE. Sorry has no meaning when it is used as a convenience, rather than a true symbol of regret. When it is simply a word, with no meaning at all...

Monday, November 15, 2010

an awful great weekend..

We had such an awful great weekend. Makes no sense. No more sense than death & grief ever make. We insisted on getting away & having fun with the kiddos. Making some good memories to over ride the bad. Saturday the 13th marked 5 years since Kierra was killed.
It was a hard day on it's own, but was made even worse by betrayal & hurt. Brian went by his Mom's house to get a pillow I left there. Only to find the locks changed & garage code changed. Supposedly an oversight, he wasn't given the code to get in even after the fact, which would have resolved the issue.
A statement was made in the background of a phone conversation that speaks volumes. No matter the pretenses.. that statement crossed a line that can never be returned from. Above & beyond being locked out of his own mother's home. I was not suprised by the turn of events, but Brian was. He truly believed in his mother's intentions & that brothers would be brothers no matter what. I hurt for him, for the pain of loss all over again for him. I hurt for the person within him this has unleashed.
I have been there, I have seen what greed & selfishness can do. The damage done can be devestating. I had hoped beyond my own expectations that things would not go this way for Brian's family. No one child has more rights than the others. No one child has more pain or loss.
We made great memories with the kids this weekend despite the turn of events. We pushed above the waste & debris left by others. We set aside what will need to be dealt with & did what our hearts needed to heal. We held strong to each other & will continue to do so.
Give your children your love & memories now, give them what you want them to have now.. that is the only way you can be sure they will get it. Because death changes everything.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Something to Share..

I find myself in a strange place.. not of a physical nature.. well, that isn't quite right, it is of a physical nature, but internal, not external.. confused yet? I have been confused, concerned, contemplative, determined, & now proactive. I have shared so much here & on Facebook. I have sometimes shared too much. Lately I have held back what I have shared because I was not sure I wanted to deal with the reactions it would bring. I have shared with some privately, but that isn't fair either.
So let me preface it with this. I AM OKAY. I am actually doing well & am on my way to doing better. I have recently been diagnosed with MS. Multiple Sclerosis. A Basic explanation of what that is; A person with multiple sclerosis has inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, which weakens the nervous system. I am in an early phase, although they believe I have had it more than 12-15 years. I have good doctors who are helping me take steps to give my body the best possible ability to function at full capacity. I have a cervical spine injury that is causing some complications but that is being treated & will hopefully be resolved soon.
Next week, the 21st, I am having Lap Band Surgery. It is the best chance for me to lose weight & keep it off to relieve the burden my body has carrying all my extra weight. I actually had tried to have it done a few times over the past several years & was denied by my insurance. I guess they prefer the cost of the surgery over the cost of progressive MS! This is a good thing! I have researched it extensively prior to this and know all the pros & cons. It is one of the ways I can meet this disease head on & continue to be active & fully functioning.
So please do not feel sad or sorry for me. I need all the positive vibes I can get. I have so many healthy, happy years ahead of me. I will have relapses & I will get through them. I am a fighter, not a quitter. I have a full life to live & am determined to do it with gusto!
So there it is. I can be myself & share my journey freely as I go along now. Thanks for hanging in there with me!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School 2010-2011

In just a few hours the kiddos will start their first day of school for the 2010-2011 school year! Tristan & Alexa will be in 1st grade & Hunter will be in 3rd. They seem to have good teachers this year & we are all looking forward to a great year! I have their backpacks packed & bags of supplies to go with them. I will send a few more things as the week continues. It is unbelievable how the supply list has changed over the years! Here are just a few things & the quantities I had to buy to cover all three kiddos..

copy paper 7 reams
glue sticks 30
sharpened pencils 72
composition books 7
binders 7
plastic folders w/ pockets 10
spiral notebooks 6
boxes of 24 crayons 6
kleenex, sanitizer, scissors, markers, 3 each

Then there are all the individual class supplies which go on forever.. so lots of labeling! I worked hard to catch stuff on sale. Office max & Staples beat out most of the dept. stores on supply prices & Kohl's seemed to have the best deals for kid's clothes over the past several weeks. I got some killer deals for Alexa today.. saved $124 & got several outfits for about $12 each. I like that math! I will try to remember to take pix today when they get on the bus.. in just a few hours!!

writing vs. reading

When did we all become so computer driven? I think we got one back in 1994 when we came back from England. But it was for games more than communication. Now we read what we have to say to each other rather than talk via phone or, WOW!, face to face. I used to think the lack of emotion in the written word caused problems, but I think there is an overabundance of emotion from some people. The probelm is they are the readers of the words, not the writers.. so their own emotion, their own insecurities, opinions, judgements, etc.. go into their reading. At times their perception has little to nothing to do with the writer's intention. I have become so tired of having to explain what I mean when I write something. No matter how basic, how plain I say things.. someone, somewhere takes it wrong, reads so much more into it than is there.
There are some pretty important things I have not even posted to Facebook because I do not have the energy to make anyone else "feel better". To continually assure everyone that I am not talking about them! The whiners & boohooers are beyond my realm of consideration at the moment. It is a self imposed censorship of sorts. But I am wearing thin with worrying about what anyone thinks. It is what it is. Like it or not.. read it or not. I do believe I have said that before. But, like my children, some things have to be repeated over & over again!
Another reminder that seems to need repeating.. if I have cut you out of my life it is a complete dismemberment.. I do not write to you or about you.. if, for some reason I did.. I would most likely mention you by name.. afterall, what would I have to lose?? So don't flatter yourself that you are included in what I have to say on a day to day basis.. I am pretty good at being done when I say I am done.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reaching for the Sun!!

I unexpectedly started a part time job on the 7th of June. It was a job that I had been approached about before but it never panned out. I went in on the 7th to discuss it & ended up working! It was supposed to be a few hours a couple days a week. Thank goodness I had already signed the kids up for 3 full days of camp each week for the summer. I now work 3 full days each week & will most likely go to full time as soon as school starts back the end of August. I am an office manager/gal Friday for an owner of 2 companies, an automotive shop & a foam insulation company. Although he has been doing this for years, they both are small busineses with alot of growth potential. I am pretty much my own boss, which is a good thing :), and I am allowed alot of freedom & creativity with organizing things, marketing, & advertising. I am really enjoying it!
I have not worked a professional job in 6 1/2 years. I know the kids "need" me, but it hasn't fed me intellectually. I cannot find the words to describe the satisfaction I have gotten from this job. Tasks that I find to be simple & easy to accomplish are accepted as manna from Heaven at this job. Abilities that I find almost effortless are praised and appreciated. My ideas are eagerly talked about & given credence. I have not felt this productive & valued in a very long time.
I know Brian & the kids appreciate what I do, but it is almost by rote. I am using parts of my brain that have lain dormant for far too long! Of course I come home to the same chores & needs from my family that I have done for those 6 1/2 years prior to now. But I have such a greater desire to get things done & prepare to greet a new day, a new challenge, a new life outside of these walls. I think the kids, Brian, & I will all reap the rewards of this new adventure/endeavor.
I undersold myself initially, but have already discussed ammending the terms of my employment.. at his request. I know there will be days when I may not love it so much, but right now it is nectar to me. This part of me has been in limbo far to long. I feel like a blossom springing forth from hard, dry soil that someone has watered and fertilized at long last. My petals are reaching out to the sun & I am ready to bloom!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Hard To Believe...

Hard to believe it has been over a month since I last posted.. I think Facebook is my mini blog! Hard to believe Chad is in Hawaii & has been gone with the Army for almost a year & a half. Hard to believe Brianne & Justin just celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary on the 4th! Hard to believe the twin's have completed kindergarten & will be in 1st grade this fall! Hard to believe Hunter will be in the double digits (10) when he has his birthday this year! Hard to believe I worked at a real job for the first time in 6 years today!
Even harder to believe Wednesday would be Kierra's 29th birthday. I can't help but think of it. So much is going on, things seem to fly by with the speed of light, yet when I think of her birth, her death, things seem to move in slow motion. I feel cheated that I can't think of the first without the last. I can't revisit the joy of her birth, of her life, without the pain of her death following so close behind.
This is life without Kierra. It isn't easier, we have just learned to cope better. I shared with someone else who was grieving recently that we have to allow ourselves the bad days that come. We have to allow ourselves the moments that break our hearts all over again... like when I am dreaming of her & the alarm goes off.. I squeeze my eyes shut tighter to hold onto her just a second longer rather than open them & lose her again. Like when one of her children laughs out loud with their face full of her smile & I have to choke back the tears as she looks out of their faces.
I am thinking of releasing some clear ballons with little messages to her on Wednesday afternoon.. Hunter has an appt. with his therapist in Ponte Vedra, it is close to the beach. The clear ballons are because the sea turtles think popped colored ballons are jellyfish & eat them, they suffocate from them & die.. Kie wouldn't like that. It's that kind of little thing that pops into my mind unexpectedly, but that's OK. She was part of my life before she was born, & she will be until I take my last breath. Life without her.. hard to believe..

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wakey, Wakey.. I'm awake!

I have really struggled the past couple weeks with how to share what I have been going through. I have started several times then stopped & deleted several times. So I am determined this time to jump in with both feet & get through it!
I am not sure exactly when I realized I was not myself anymore. I knew I had been moody, angry, on edge. I knew I intended to do things, but they never got done. I did all the things I needed to do to care for the kids, but next to nothing to care for myself. I would get the kids off to school, come home, sit on the couch or in one of the chairs, then be amazed that it was time to pick them up. I wasn't sleeping the day away, I was just staring at the television losing hours at a time. Hindsight is 20/20.I can see looking back, but not when it was happening. I finally made an appt. with my doctor. I was at a point I had never been to before. A dear friend had shared issues she had following her hysterectomy. That seemed like such a relief that it could be something that simple.
My Dr. spent alot of time with me at that appt. We talked about everything that had been happening in my life since my surgery last May. She believes I may have some mild symptoms due to hormones, but she firmly believes I was in a severe depression.
That seemed strange to me considering it has been over 4 years since Kierra's death. How could I be more depressed than I was when she died?? I had worked so hard to cope & be strong & do what needed to be done for my family.
August 25th, 2009 my brother-in-law & one of my dearest friends both died within 2 hours of each other. Randy had been very ill for the previous year & was diagnosed as terminal a short time before his death. Debbie had been unexpectedly hospitalized & declined quickly. It is hard to compare the 3 losses. There is no comparison. Each one was devestating for me in their own individual ways. I had been on autopilot since Kierra's death. Keeping myself busy & involved in so many things that I did not have time to let myself truly open that wound & let it heal. I cannot imagine it ever truly healing. So when my mind tried to process losing Randy & Debbie at the same time, it again tried to put me on autopilot, forging ahead like before. The flaw in that was that no matter how determined my mind was to ignore it, my body responded of it's own accord. I began to sleep less & less. I became more & more disinterested in the things I once enjoyed. I became oblivious to the things I left undone around me. I put on my happy face when necessary, but even that began to require energy I didn't have. I missed meetings for the cooking club, multiples group, school groups. I slowly removed myself from almost any social situation.
It took all I had to care for the children & try to function in what I thought was a normal world.
My Dr. not only insisted I try medication, but felt it was my only option. I have had an aversion to taking pills. Having exposure to several addicts in my life, I have always shied away from any meds that would blur my senses, or make me unaware. That seems funny now when I can look back & see how unaware I was for several months.
Taking the meds was almost immediately like waking from a deep sleep, or like fog clearing & being able to see what is right in front of you.. I was shocked to see how many things I had let slide, or completely forgotten about. Our house was by no means in a state that was unhealthy, but it was not how I was used to it being. I spent the first week cleaning & getting rid of alot of stuff. There are a number of projects I have left undone or only partially finished. But I am getting there.
I am trying to not dwell on what I haven't done, but keep moving forward to doing what needs to be done. I know it will take time. I know I will still have days when I will just want to do nothing but cry. My meds aren't magic. They aren't going to make me happy all the time. They do make me more aware, more motivated to get things done. I have enjoyed my children, my family, my dogs, my horses.. especially the horses.. more than I have in months. But I am not a zombie.. I am not so high that I can't function. Actually I don't feel "high" at all.. I feel awake, alive.. and glad to be. That may be the biggest change of all..

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Me & creepy crawlers.. Now it's war!

I have lots to blog about, will have to backtrack a little later.. been very busy.. as usual, life is busy & we tend to get caught up in it!
The kids & I made a quick run down to Clearwater/St. Pete to check on Brian's Mom & get some stuff done at her house. We got there yesterday afternoon & came home today. I decided to stay at her house last night so I could get more done. Her house has been empty for about 4 months while she has been back and forth between the hospital & rehab. She has lived on her own there for almost 5 years before that. Her ability to care for the house is limited & despite the best of intentions, it has been difficult for anyone else to convince her to let go of "saving" things. I spent almost a week there a few years ago to clear out her garage & a storage room in her house. Yet everywhere you turn there is more stuff!
My Grammy was one of the most fastidious woman I have ever known. She battled cockroaches, palmetto bugs, silverfish etc. all the time. I am a Yankee. I didn't move to Florida until I was 9 years old. We didn't have those kinds of bugs up north. I learned very quickly that there are lots of them in Florida & they like the dark! Most kids collected change for candy, I collected change to buy bug spray after waking up with them crawling on me in my bed! I would hide it under my bed because my parents said it was a waste of money & couldn't understand my fear. Every night I would push my bed away from the wall & spray all under & around my bed. Then I would lay awake until I heard my parents go to bed. Then I turned my light on & sat in the middle of my bed with my spray in hand. I fell asleep like that most nights & I would wake up in a panic the next morning to turn off my light before my parents noticed. I got caught many times & got in a lot of trouble for wasting electricity. That fear & obsession about roaches of all kinds has stayed with me throughout my life.
When I was a very young bride & pregnant with Kierra I lived in Indiana. My Father-in-law put the deposit down on a trailer for us to live in. It was a new experience for me & I tried to be grateful. When we went into the trailer & checked out the kitchen someone opened the stove & roaches scattered all over. I screamed & ran out crying that I could not live there. I paid dearly for embarrassing my father in law & husband. (both are now in the EX category!) I begged for bug spray & suffered many sleepless nights there until we moved.
Brian & the kids thought Joe's Apartment was a funny movie.. I couldn't stay in the room while they watched it! While they laughed at the bugs dancing on the toilet seat I was fighting back the heebie-jeebies & dreading the nightmares. They came.. me in a bathtub full of them & no one could hear me screaming!
And yes, I have to talked to a therapist about it!! I can manage my phobia quite well. But there are some instances that despite my best efforts I have aftershocks of physcosomatic hives & that sensation of things crawling in my hair.
Brian's childhood home isn't far from the neighborhood I lived in when we moved to Florida. His mom came from a generation when times were tough & you reused everything you could to stretch that dollar & not be wasteful. So did mine. They saved paper bags, cardboard boxes, margarine containers, all kinds of things that could be useful again.
I had my first episode of "hives & spider hair" when I helped my parents pack to move from Florida to Tennessee several years ago. They had cabinets full of stuff that they had hoarded over the many years they lived there. Needless to say there were lots of roaches of various sizes scurrying as we tried to pack & clean. The hives & creepy crawly scalp lasted a few days then just as quickly went away. Creams & meds did nothing to help. I would even scratch in my sleep. I rarely stayed at their house back then. I have only stayed at Brian's parent's house a handful of times in over 27 years of marriage for that reason.
Roaches love paper of any kind, in any form. Not to mention any food that is left available to their houdini ability to get inside things. They love clutter & dark places. They especially love cardboard boxes full of papers, books, anything that gives them a food source & a place to hide.
Cleaning Brian's parent's garage & storage room had that same "hives & spider hair" reaction cropping up almost immediately. It lasted for weeks that time. I wasn't going to stay there last night, but we got in later than planned & I really wanted to get some cleaning done & get anything trash worthy out of there.. I filled 4 commercial trash bags!
By 3 am I was tired & ready for sleep.. I had cleaned & sprayed, sprayed & cleaned. She had hoarded paper bags, years worth of the plastic bags the newspaper comes in.. empty envelopes from things that were mailed to her.. pieces if cardboard from the back of note pads.. just lots & lots of roach food! With the house empty & almost always dark there was a bug party going on 24/7. I could not bring myself to turn off the lights.. so I went to try to sleep in the one room I had purged, cleaned, & sprayed hours earlier where we were all sleeping. I could not do it, I could not close my eyes. I dozed a few times & woke up in a panic, grabbing the can of bug spray to protect myself. I thought I was still doing well since I did not break out in hives. Although the creepy crawly scalp thing was in full force! On the way home I started scratching my thighs & arms, then I was rubbing my back on my seat.. yup.. hives had arrived!!
It may seem silly to some, but it is what it is.. some people have a fear of flying, of snakes, of spiders, of mice.. I have a fear of roaches.. but I will still do what has to be done to get that house purged of them. I am planning on a trip down in about 2 weeks to bomb the heck out of that house. A few more trash bags & their food sources should be gone.. any important papers/books will be put in airtight bins. Blankets, towels, & sheets will be in large ziploc storage bags. Because now it's war!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Onward to a Better Day!

The "spring forward" with daylight savings has really been a hard adjustment this time! Moving the clocks ahead an hour doesn't sound like such a big deal, but getting kids to go to bed when it is still light out & getting up when it is still dark is a bear! Moving their bedtime an hour later isn't good for their health or mine either. Then they would be even harder to get up in the morning. We will eventually adjust, but right now it starts the day off rough. We actually did okay this am after the initial dragging them out of bed!
But then my day spiraled downward. I tried to salvage what I could, but man was it rough! We got to the bus stop, which is in the parking lot of our communtiy center. There was a huge moving truck, with car in tow, parked directly across from the entrance. There were about 15 other cars parked waiting for the bus. It was obvious the bus would not be able to get past this truck. I wasn't sure if anyone had addressed the problem, so I got out of my car, crossed the street & knocked on the door until someone answered. I explained the probelm & asked them to please move their truck. I hailed the bus driver & told him it would be just a minute til the guy got his keys. Problem solved. As I was getting in my car another parent rolled down their window as they were leaving. He (the parent) proceeded to rant about the guy with the moving truck. It took alot for me to be civil. The guy was parked in front of his house.. he wasn't in the wrong, just in the way. I just told the parent it was no big deal.. problem solved.
I left to go to the grocery store. There was a terrible accident where the road merges to 2 lanes instead of 4. The road was blocked while the Life Flight helicopter landed. It looked like there may also have been a fatality. The guy in front of me got out of his car & proceeded to yell at the police & paramedics about being delayed for work. I could not believe how callous he seemed about the life or lives that were hanging in the balance such a short distance away. The helicopter was landing, there was no doubt why we were being held back. Finally one of the officers came over & shut him up. It was hard for me not to approach him myself. I continued on my way to the store.
While I was driving I thought about what a rude welcome to the neighborhood the couple must have had from me this morning. I was nice about it, but I obviously woke them up. They arrived very late last night & had alot of unloading & unpacking to do today. I ran into the store, grabbed some muffins for them & the pasta I needed. I wasn't there even 10 minutes. I came out to my car. There was a guy a couple spaces away from where I was parked. He was looking at my van, then turned to me as I approached. He then proceeded to rant about my dogs being in my van while I shopped. I tried to explain that they enjoy being in the car, it was only a few minutes, the back windows were open, I was parked in the shade, it was 8:30 am & it was only 48 degrees out, not 70. They were wagging their tails & in no distress. He was on a roll, threatened to report me for animal abuse, etc. I did my best to not lose my cool. I do not condone leaving your pets in your vehicle for long periods of time, or for any time in hot weather. If it is even mildly warm out & they are with me I leave the AC on & the car running if I have to run in for something ( I have keyless entry). In colder weather they go everywhere with me. I leave windows open & they love it. They both hate being left home alone. I would never jeopardize their lives. I thanked him for his concern , got in my car & left.
I went to starbucks on the way home, got my self coffee & 2 coffees for the new neighbors.
I dropped off the muffins & coffee, reintroduced myself & properly welcomed them to the neighborhood. I told them where I live & told them to come by if they needed anything. I got in my car & went home. Then I realized they screwed up my coffee & it was awful! I thought about going all the way back & having them give me the correct coffee. Then I went in, added some vanilla syrup & fixed my coffee. I was going to relax with my coffee & spend some time on Facebook only to have it freeze up on me & give me page errors. All of this before 9 am!
Then I sat here & reviewed the series of events. They could have been worse. I could have been the one woken up abruptly by a stranger in my new home. I could have been the one who was in, or had a loved one in, that accident. I could have been one of those ranting, angry men. I could have not made ammends with that couple. I could let this ruin my whole day. But I won't. I will release it here & let it go. That is progress for me. I know I have it in me to have reacted very differently than I did today. I tried to think about the other side of the situation. It doesn't mean the two ranting lunatics were right.. just that they believed they were & there was no use trying to convince them otherwise. That is a huge concession for me. It is also huge that I recognize that. There may be hope for me yet!!
Onward to a better day!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Even as I smile..

I am watching You Got Served. It is a movie about Street Dancing. I am listening to the hip hop music in it & I can remember Kierra liking this movie. I have seen it before. I actually like the movie. But I am not watching it for the movie.. I am watching it for the memories. I am watching it for the feeling of familiarity it brings me. My life seems at times to feel so unfamiliar to me.
It is a dual edged sword to invite this nostalgia. It brings grief, it brings pain. But it brings the image of her smiling face to my mind as well. I consider it a worthy trade. I wipe the tears from my eyes even as I smile, remembering.
I have a bad habit of late. I tend to go on autopilot when talking about Kierra's death. It is done by rote. I have gotten almost too good at flipping my emotional switch off. So when I am sitting here alone in the late of night & come across a conduit to my memories & emotions, I let them flow. I embrace the joy as well as the pain, knowing they come together. Knowing I cannot have one without the other. That is the cruelest thing of all. I cannot have a joyous memory, recall a happy moment without the aftermath it brings. That too has been taken from me, right along with her. My grief is my Absinthe, my deadly nightshade, my belladonna.. it has to be tempered, controlled, held back so that I can survive, carry on with the life that I have been left with. I have built up a resistance over time, but my heart is not impervious to it. I have to realize it never will be.
I will take these moments, these memories, and I will wipe the tears from my eyes.. even as I smile.

Taco Burgers

1 Beaten Egg
1/4 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Soft Bread Crumbs
1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
1 Envelope Taco Seasoning Mix
1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef
1 (11.5 oz) Can Condensed Bean with Bacon Soup
1/2 Cup Water
2 Medium Tomatoes, Chopped
1 Cup Shredded Cheese (I use Cheddar or Mexican Blend)

In a large bowl combine the egg, milk, bread crumbs, onion, & seasoning mix. Add beef; mix well to incorporate all ingredients. Shape into 6 patties. ( I make smaller patties so I usually get more than 6)
In a large, lightly oiled skillet brown the patties on both sides. In another bowl mix the condensed soup with the 1/2 cup water; then spoon over meat. Cover; cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Top with the chopped tomatoes & cheese. Heat covered for about 4 minutes longer until the cheese has melted.

Serve with Corn Chips or Frito Scoops.

Another Banana Bread recipe (with glaze)

1/3 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana, (about 3 medium)
1 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter & sugar in large bowl til light & fluffy. Stir in lemon peel. Stir in eggs & bananas. Combine the dry ingredients in a seperate bowl, then add to the banana mixture slowly, stirring just until moistened. Fold in the nuts.
Pour into greased & floured loaf pan(s) about 3/4 full. (depending on the size of the pan, may make 2 loaves) Bake for 1 hour.

Brown Sugar Glaze
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine butter, sugar, & cream in saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil for 1 minute then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Spoon or pour over banana bread once it is cooled.

Grammy's Banana Bread recipe

5-6 medium bananas, mashed
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup melted shortening (or margarine/butter)
2 eggs
2 cups sugar

Beat eggs well, add sugar & mix well. Add melted shortening (or marg/butter), let mixture cool a few minutes. Add in mashed bananas. Then mix in dry ingredients. Pour into greased & floured loaf pan(s). .. about 3/4 full. Bake for 1 hour in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Optional.. add 1 cup chopped nuts when you add in the dry ingredients.

I remember when I was first married to Brian.. we lived in Wyoming & I didn't know anyone but him when we moved there. I called Grammy alot back then. I could cook anything that came with directions, but that was about it. She shared alot of her recipes with me. I cherish them still. I didn't realize that the change in altitude would affect the recipe, so to this day Brian recalls my banana bricks! I so wish I could still call her & hear her voice on the other end of the phone.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Hard Habit to Break..

I just commented on Facebook about the saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" & that my road was paved to hell & back! That covers alot of ground for me. I had intentions to get back to blogging, I have not done so well with that. I am not sure why. I do not intentionally avoid it, but it never seems to get to the top of my to-do list.
I try to help others in whatever way I can. I try to fix things when someone needs me too. I tend to do it wether I am asked to or not. Therein lies the flaw of being a habitual "fixer"! The other end of that is when I so desperately want to help & either that person won't let me or there isn't anything I can do to help. I get burnt out, or emotionally drained sometimes, & yet I turn right around & do it again. It is who I am, it is what I do. It makes me feel I have a purpose, that I can do good, therefore I am good.. AHA! A lightbulb moment.. the eternal quest to be "good". To have approval from the ones you love & care about.
So why do I end up feeling bad if I can't help, or if my "helping" doesn't fix the problem? Why do I let it matter so much? I am not content to just try. Even with the best of intentions sometimes "helping" just turns things into a bigger mess. Or something that seems like a small task turns into a huge undertaking.
And I, of course, rarely ask for help from others. I think I am Wonder Woman & can do anything & everything all by myself. I can tell myself I am not, but damned if I don't put on that mask & keep on doing it. It isn't always a bad thing. It is an integral part of who I am. I don't know that I would want to be any other way. I have made a concerted effort, at times, to stop caring too much, to stop being the fixer. It doesn't last long. It is how I live, how I love, how I care for the people in my life.
It has been known to encompass strangers as well. I see someone in need & I am compelled to help. I don't need reciprocation. I don't need recognition or acknowledgment. It somehow feeds my inner being. It is what it is. I use that alot, but it is the simple truth. So even when it goes awry, I continue to try. As I will tomorrow, next week, next month, next year.
My life is a constant work in progress. I have always found it easier to clean someone else's house rather than my own. I think the same goes for helping others solve the problems in their lives.. when my own seem too difficult, or out of my control I can always find some satisfaction helping someone else.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A New Year..

I had the best of intentions for kickstarting 2010. I was going to be a better blogger, better mother, better wife, better friend... a whole new me. That didn't get very far before I realized that I may change some things, I may even change them for the better. But all in all.. I am who & what I am. There is always room for improvement, & I will do what I can to "better" myself. But it will be on my own terms, at my own pace. Not because another day went by, the date changed & the new year demands all those promises. Too much pressure for me, LOL! I have enough of that already!
I did make a change that will surely have a domino effect. On Dec. 29th I moved the horses from an hour away in Calahan, north of Jacksonville.. to 6 minutes from my house, here in St. Augustine. I see them every day. It has already made a huge difference to my worries & concerns for them. It is such a relief to have them so close. I was able to go out for a ride the other day & still had hours left to do other things at home. That in itself is a huge bonus! Brian & the kids will be able to be more involved too. That was the best Christmas present!
We got through the Holidays. This year was especially hard after losing Randy & Debbie August 25th. There were a few other deaths that were not as close, but losses none the less. It took alot of effort for me to even put up the tree, but we did it for the kids & managed to help them enjoy it. Brianne helped me Christmas Eve. & spent the night so she & Justin could be here Christmas morning. Chad didn't make it home. It is the first Christmas he hasn't been with us in his 23 years. That only added to the desire to skip it. I was glad to get it all taken down as soon as I could afterward. Maybe Christmas 2010 will be better for all of us. Maybe the economy will improve & life overall will be just a little bit easier. Maybe..
Hunter turned 9 years old on December 22nd. The twins will be 6 years old on Feb. 4th.
Time still keeps ticking away. Everyone will turn another year older, & we will all face another year of living... life without Kierra.