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.