Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Starting My November

Tonight is All Hallow's Eve. Time for candy and goblins and spooky shadows beneath the moonlight. But you know what?
 I'm totally over it already.
 If you ask me, it's time to throw those skeletons back up into the attic and shove those hairy spiders into their rightful corner of the garage. I'm so over jack-o-lanterns and caramel apples and all things zombie related.
My thoughts are already focused on recipes for stuffings and pies and a giant glazed bird that can make your mouth water.
I dream of curling up with a good book while hot chocolate steams in a cup beside me. I'm thinking of mulled cider candles and pilgrim shoes on the welcome mat and quail feathers tucked into a grapevine wreath.
I'm wanting flannel pj's, soft slippers, a comfy old cardigan that wraps around me twice.
I'm imagining evergreens wrapped with red bows, full cookie jars, and listening to Christmas music way too early.
I'm yearning for a house alive with the great smells of stuffing and fudge. Of a driveway crowded with my kid's cars. Of a family room alive with laughter and love and overflowing blessings.
Go ahead and have your Halloween.
I'm starting my November.
To me, it's the most wonderful time of the year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Different Kind of Party

Sometimes a change of plans can be disappointing. 
But other times, it can mean that more wonderful things are going to happen...

Thursday the 18th of October, I was just getting in the mood for my halloween party. It had taken me a bit of coaxing to even agree to have another one this year. It's a lot of work. But once I pulled all the scary stuff down from the attic, I was almost looking forward to the bonfire, costumes, and assorted fall treats that a party would provide. I started decorating the garage, but put off doing too much until my kids came over to help.

My son and his wife -and one of my daughters and her fiancé -came in Friday night to help with the party and to be a part of the events. It was fairly late when they arrived, so the decorating was put off till Saturday.

I cooked a large breakfast casserole and we all ate an early (7 am?)breakfast in order to get things done. Sitting around the dining room table, we all looked tired and decided it might be a good time for a morning catnap so we would be refreshed enough to start setting up the cemetery, lighting, music, and tables.

My daughter in law was feeling kind of funny. Their baby was due to arrive around the first week in November, so we decided she needed to rest before the nights activities.

I was cleaning up the dishes when my son came quickly down the hallway announcing that her water had broken! Of course, we thought he was kidding. We had joked about having to cancel the party if the baby came early. But within minutes they were on their way to the hospital ( an hour and a half drive).
She was definitely in labor!

With a few quick phone calls, I got most of the guests contacted so they would not show up for a party that was not meant to be! 

Excitement was at an all time high at our household that day. I was a bit crazy and pacing the floors, but my husband ( who is always that calm and logical one) assured me that this baby was going to take its good old time to get here.
So what did we do? We went with my daughter and her man to play nine holes of golf. Seriously? Yep. But it did take my mind off my new grandchild being born.

My son and his wife chose not to know the sex of the  baby. They said there were too few surprises in life  and this was one of them. So we were totally in the dark on what it would be. They hadn't even shared their name choices with us.

We ended up over at the hospital later that evening and sat in the room with all the family members nil about midnight. Then we went to my son's house and crashed for a few hours. Breakfast at iHop and then back to the hospital...

It was about 4 or 5 am and we were told they wanted private time. Her contractions were getting stronger. And that is another sweet little daughter in law decided to have the baby naturally. No IV's, no epidural, no pain meds, drugs, or inducing . She was a trooper through this whole ordeal. Smiling, good spirits and talkative...even though we knew she was feeling the pain more as the night went on.

The sun started to rise outside the waiting room about 6:45 am. A few minutes later, my son came down the hallway, crying. "It's a girl ", he said. "Perfect. Ten fingers and ten toes. And we named her Lola Rae."

I cried for joy and we all hugged and later got to meet our new granddaughter. A full head of dark hair, and a tiny little thing, she won our hearts immediately.
It was a great day!

So, this was the halloween that "almost "was...the timing worked out perfectly.

 We celebrated a new life and we are truly blessed!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When I Move To The Woods

When I move to the woods, I shall have a tree house. 
It will be tucked away in a shady corner of the thick pines, just within distance of the little creek. The water there makes music as it tumbles over large round rocks and snakes its way through the hillside- disappearing beyond the fence row to a place unknown.
I will build my tree house where there are wild flowers and sweet clover and animals that visit unaware.
 I will have a bright lantern of light that hangs from a rusty hook on the ceiling.
I will have a soft chair that sags when I sit, but pulls me into comfort.
I will have a writing desk with pen and paper and a stack of good books that never get old.
I will have my trusty binoculars, a pail for collecting stones, and a backpack ready with salty snacks and cool water in case I get hungry.
I will have a tattered blanket, a little pillow, and some stale bread for the birds.
I will watch the clouds, embrace the wind, and memorize the sunsets.
I will catch lightning bugs, gather pine cones and welcome days of soft rain.
I will listen to squirrels chatter, turkeys gobble and deer blow a warning to their fawns.
I will sing aloud, dance in my slippers, and dream of beaches and mountains and places I will visit.
I will pray. I will laugh. I will cry. And I will live.

When I move to the woods, I shall have a tree house....

Monday, October 15, 2012

One Last Party?

In a moment (or two) of temporary insanity, I agreed to have a Halloween party again this year. I had almost made up my mind to skip the whole thing- not only because we are trying to sell the house, but also because my heart doesn't seem to be in it. Once it was a great thrill to plan- and I would start in late August making labels and jotting down ideas and buying decor a bit at a time. I even went all out on my invitations.
This year? I face booked everybody. And decorations? Well, they are still up in the attic ...and the party is Saturday. Hmmmm...I don't even know what kind of costume I am wearing yet!
Yet, even with this creeping stress, I am trying to remain calm. I hope it all comes together in the next few days. At least this year I announced potluck ...and this will save me tons of money that I don't have!
We always have a good time. Food, drink and an evening of karaoke. Or as we call it- scary-oke! Even though it is halloween, we try not to "boo". I just wish someone would come up with a new halloween song. Purple People Eater and Ghost Busters are getting kind of old!
We try to remember to take a group picture before darkness sets over the yard, and looking at them now brings back wonderful memories at this house. It is so bittersweet to think this may be our last party here....yet, I am more than ready to walk a new goes on...
My desktop and laptop are currently down or I would post some photos. This newfangled iPad is just a miniature flat screen TV with Internet...and I dislike the fact I have lost my print shop features and photos from the past. I love to play around with designing cards and videos and such. A new computer is definitely on my Christmas list!
Well, I do believe I have a bag of old costumes in my closet, so I am headed there to see what I can come up with for Saturday.
I'll let you know how it all turns out.
Have a great autumn day! It is beautiful here!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Help Helmets

It's days like today when I wished that women wore helmets.
How much easier would it make getting ready in the morning or preparing for a special event! 
 Just think- no rushing to the hairdresser for an expensive cut and style.
 No spending hours in front of the mirror with flat irons, sprays, gels, lotions and a great,
 big ,giant "I am so ugly!" attitude.
No more worrying about dark roots, early gray, or unattractive flips, flops and choppy layers.

Of course, in the real world, even a hair helmet would be based on a persons tastes.
I doubt mine would consist of any of the primary colors. It would not contain any sort of bling. And I would want to keep it as inexpensive as possible.
Yet, even with hair helmets, there would be an unspoken fashion competition to see who has the most beautiful, fantastic or unusual head covering.

A hair helmet would be ideal on a day like this. It's cold and windy and I really don't have time to shower and change clothes and do my hair ...just to run to town for a can of coffee or movie rental.
Yes, a hair helmet would definitely make life easier...

But I suppose if we are all going to get hair helmets, we might as well make that jump from jeans, dresses and slacks into some sort of uniform. A miracle suit of sorts that fails to magnify thunder thighs, thick ankles and rollypolly middles. A wonder armor that hides your true dumpiness from the world and gives the appearance of a shapely and sophisticated woman. 
I could go for that. No more junky closets full of "I have nothing to wear!". No more out of control credit card purchases for clothing that's obviously made for someone thinner, younger, and richer.

Okay, then. Might as well add shoes to the uniform- just so there's no prejudice when judging the helmet headed, miracle suited woman on the street. Gotta make a generic form of tennis shoes, boots and sandals for the changing seasons- with little embellishment.

Oh, gosh, how I wish I had my hair helmet today! I gotta go run errands. And believe me- it ain't gonna be pretty!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Short Hello

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention. 
Be astonished. 
Tell about it.

I found the above quote online today and thought it would be a great one to share. 
I suppose it's another reason I is too amazing to keep quiet!

That being said, I have to mow, do laundry and vacumn this morning, so I will try to write a post tomorrow!

Until then- study the quote and enjoy your day!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Of All Things Pumpkin

It's that time of year once again when everyone's taste buds crave the amazing flavor of pumpkin.
Amazing? Really?
I think not.

Pumpkin in its raw form is merely a type of squash that resembles a gourd. It is neither sweet tasting or particularly nutritious. One cup of fresh cubed pumpkin is low in calories: 30...but yet, 26 of those calories come from carbs. It has 1.6 grams of sugar, 106 grams of water, and .9 grams of ash.

I did some research on it and the scientific explanation made my brain hurt a little. Just know this: it won't harm you in any way.

Face it, folks...the only way we love the yummyness of pumpkin is when it is saturated with sugar and butter and flour and cream cheese and nutmeg and cinnamon!
My mother used to make a delicious pumpkin bread and we couldn't wait for it to be pulled from the oven. The top would crack in the middle during baking and would leave a soft, gooey center that melted in your mouth. 
Looking back, I am really surprised that we even tasted it for the first time. Pumpkin sounded too much like squash, carrots and radishes to our young minds. 
But I think it was that overpowering smell that got us hooked. 
Who wouldn't want to eat something that smelled so intoxicatingly wonderful?

Coffee manufacturers have learned that they can put the word pumpkin on their products and sell it like crazy. But I've learned from experience that just because it says pumpkin and may smell like pumpkin, it rarely tastes like pumpkin.

Don't get me wrong- I love all things pumpkin. Pie, rolls, cake, bread, cookies and another assorted fat filled desserts that contain this orange wonder.
But at this point, I am trying to stay away from these types of food.

So...I'll light a Pumpkin Spice Latte candle instead.
Breathe deeply. 
And I'll spend the day dreaming about jack-o-lanterns, good coffee, 
and my mom's warm pumpkin bread.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

An Apple A Day Makes Me Want To Scream

Do you ever find yourself disliking people just because they are doing something you can't? Or won't? Or are simply too lazy, lame, or otherwise preoccupied to attempt?

I really, really love my husband. Truly, I do. But his precise and analytical mind is about to drive me bonkers! Who knew that starting a diet and health regimen would be so darn rigid and demanding? Who would have guessed he would walk the line so exact? That he would never fall off for the taste of nachos grande or chocolate covered cherries or thick potato soup swimming in cheese?

Seriously, this man has blinders on. All he sees is lettuce and protein shakes and sharpened pencils that calculate daily weight, calories, meals and balances. His diet diary is neater than the checkbook of an obsessive/compulsive accountant. And - get this- he actually thinks running is fun!

"How big was that apple," he'll say.

"Average." I'll answer.

"Well, which is it, Woman!? Large, medium, or small?

" Medium, I guess."

"Three and a quarter inches diameter, or two, or more?" He questions me impatiently.

I go dig the tape measure out of my sewing kit and am tempted to grab the scissors also. The movie Psycho flies through my mind for a quick moment, but I instead I run to measure the last apple in the fruit bowl.

"Ugh...three point seven eight inches exactly"' I announce breathlessly- my lips curled in an attacking pit bull pose.

The sorta "dislike" I mentioned earlier starts to fill my veins about that time.

But, you know what?

I look at this man.
Really see him with new eyes.
He has lost over fifty pounds in four months!

And his determination and inspiration has gotten me to shed twenty pounds of my own.

It is actually a blessing and not a curse that he graphs this thing out like a blueprint. If not for him, I would be shoving Hershey bars into my mouth and guessing they were fifty calories...or so.
I would be sitting on the couch watching American Pickers instead of walking thirty minutes on the treadmill.
I would have reasons like broken nails, an aching back, and the stuffed -crust -pizzas -were -on -sale -how-could-I-possibly-pass-them-up? excuse.

We are a team.
I may not always jot down the nutritional value of every avocado, walnut or cherry tomato I stick in my mouth, but I'm learning that it all adds up. I'm realizing that the excuse of not having enough time doesn't work anymore. We give up about an hour and a half of TV every other night to work out at the gym. I don't miss it at all. And the gym fees per month are less than one Pizza Hut carry out meal a week.

And when I glance over at him on the treadmill- his face sweating, his breath heavy, his eyes focused forward-  I'm glad I am along on this ride. 
We already feel like younger souls...

Face it, my husband would never find clean socks, know how to mop the kitchen floor, or ever remember to clean the lint trap on the dryer. 
That's what I'm here for.
But without him, this journey would be boring, haphazard, uneven, disorganized and useless.
And I would never have known that Chili's Awesome Onion Blossom is 2,130 calories.

I still don't measure my apples.
I don't count the raisins on my dinner salad.
And I haven't kept up my diet diary since Day 2.

But that's never gonna change....even if I do!

Monday, October 1, 2012

No Map Needed

I gave myself a new title this weekend.
I am an explorer.
How else can you describe a person who delights in wandering aimlessly through the woods in order to spy a lopsided toadstool or the falling of a sassafras leaf?
What better name can you attribute to a woman whose  bowed head stays focused on smooth rocks, hidden wild flowers, and nature's souvenirs?
Or...with eyes titled upward to focus on the outline of pine trees, the blueness of the sky - the roundness of the moon?

This weekend at the cabin I found myself with childlike eyes again- anxious to  kick up crimson colored leaves and overturn tiny stones and peek beneath the fleshy sprout of a new mushroom. While my husband mowed the yard, I disappeared into the edge of the woods with my camera. I know from experience that these treasures do not last long...
The sunlight on yellow leaves will fade after noon.
The toadstools will wither and rot, or be eaten by rodents.
Trees with a ball of red leaves will become bare in time.
Polished rocks will become hidden beneath rain soaked soil.
And I will lose the innocence of a young girl.

Responsibilities will make me cynical once more. Days will make me weak and frail and uninterested in what Mother Nature offers.
Later, there will not be enough time...

That evening I told my husband that when I am finished exploring that place, then I will die.
Because I could explore it forever.
It is constantly changing-  perpetually revealing hidden colors and pleasant treasures and perfumes that make my lungs sing.
The shadows shift, the light dances, the narrow paths open up to other worlds...
Temperatures change, sounds echo, pine trees whisper words I've yet to learn...

I delighted in finding new gifts. I took with me the tiniest acorn I had ever seen, with its little top hat still in place. And a sharp rock that looks like the face of an owl. A red spotted leaf, a white stone the size and shape of a penny, and a rusty hinge that was half buried in last years wood pile.

These are simple things, I know. Things that most people never care about or rarely see.
But to me- they are my bounty, my prize, my proof of miracles.

And I am an explorer.