Sunday, March 30

Dear Anonymous

Obviously, you have a lot to say.

Have you thought about getting a blog to just vent?

I admit, I was curious--but you lost me after the fourth or fifth paragraph. I had to delete you, because you were just bogging things down. I think it's better if you keep your message short and to the point.

I am ready to read a more concise edited version. I truly believe everyone has a right to his or her own opinion. When you get a blog or website... just let me know.

Saturday, March 29

Thank Heaven, For Little Girls

Spring has sprung and I feel like my life is suddenly on fast-forward.

I have 4 more weeks of school--and some pretty daunting assignments--
before I can chill out and take a break from studies.

I've been visiting with Miss Jessica on the phone a lot here lately
and helping her plan her move from West Texas to Virginia.
I'm really excited about having her in the same city with me again.

We can do all sorts of things together.

She can help with the cooking...

She's always been quick to lend a hand when needed.

She understands the best things in life are shared.

And she'll also get to spend more time with Pop (and Momo).

It looks like my little girl...

will finally be coming home.

Thursday, March 27

My Friends Are All Outside

Looking the other way doesn't work well with deadlines.
Come to think of it, I can't think of a single instance when it does work.

I've been facing all the mounting daily challenges head on--
putting in a lot of late hours and stumbling to bed
closer to midnight most days.

I need a break occasionally to clear my overloaded brain.
The sunshine streaming in the windows
lures me away from computers and web design.

Once outside, I take a walking tour of our little "kingdom,"
soaking in the fresh air and sunshine
while taking notice of the latest gifts Mother Nature has brought us.

I spent one afternoon trimming all the bridal wreath.
I'm noticing more things that are starting to bloom...

Every little bloom is encouraging me
to get through with all this book stuff,
so I can come play for the summer.

Sunday, March 23

Thursday, March 20

I Can See Clearly Now

Before my head is off the pillow, I watch the birds as they fly from one feeder to the next. The tree tops wave to let me know they're doing the best they can to keep our belongings out of the next county.

High winds today. It rained last evening while I was pushing to get through absolute Excel formulas. I heard it beat on the windows behind me and never once looked out. I was on a mission.

I broke briefly to enjoy a dinner of fish and fries. JB had planned it so I could be finished by the time dinner was ready. There's only one problem with that. You can time dinner, but you can't always time homework.

After dinner, back to the books I went. JB hand washed the dishes, ignoring the hungry Bosch dishwasher, waiting to be fed. We all have our habits, I guess.

I had two phone calls within an hour of the other. Anticipating a lengthy session, I plugged in the headset for my cordless phone. I just recently purchased this nifty little gadget from the clearance bin at Target so I can keyboard as I listen. Mama's are the original multi-taskers.

Jess is wrapping things up and getting things done in anticipation of the move to Virginia. We have talked off and on for a year now, about her returning to school. She's 23 and has waitressed and tended bar since she was 17--long enough to embrace a change. I assure her that the same drive and determination that has sustained her throughout this time, will be invaluable in college.

Jeni's written board exam was Tuesday. I was holding my breath, waiting to her her thoughts. Turns out, she had thought it was Tuesday, when in all actuality it is next Tuesday. This wasn't a good thing. Last week was spring break for her. She had used that time for studying and bypassed a trip out of town.

I suspect the down time did her more good than nightlife in Austin. She agreed when I reminded her there's always an opportunity to party.

I miss that rotten little curly headed child that tried my patience. The one that had me making Daisy Kingdom patterns out of printed sweatshirt fleece and cotton lace. She was a tomboy that wanted to dress like a girly-girl.

I have pictures she emailed me of her wedding dress, but I'm afraid of posting them. I haven't even shared them with my sisters, for fear of jinxing something. But I will share the description Jeni emailed me:

It's a strapless, half-A-line, half-mermaid style dress w/embroidery and beads on the bust and down one side. The veil has beads and shit on the ends to match.

Note: Here's a little clip which may help explain the label for this post:

Wednesday, March 19

Bacon Cheddar Appetizer Cheesecake

Here's the recipe, as promised:

Pastry for a single crust pie (make your own, or use a can of crescent rolls for the crust)
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 cup (4 ounces sharp cheddar)
1/2 cup sliced green onions
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Roll the pastry into 13 1/2 inch circle. Fit into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch spring form pan. Lightly prick the bottom. Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs and milk; beat until smooth. Add cheese, onions, bacon, salt and pepper and cayenne; mix well. Pour into crust.

Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Cut into thin slices; serve warm.

Yield: 16-20 appetizer servings.

Tuesday, March 18

You Gotta See This

I have come across two things here recently, that I must share.

This is right up there with the Halloween video.
No, it won't scare you, but you'll get a good belly laugh:

The other is the site: The Women On The Web.
I've added it to my blogroll on the right.
After you visit, I suspect you'll be adding it to yours.

Monday, March 17

Keeping It Together

Cause for celebration today--I made a 96.5 on my last environmental biology test. Woohoo!

But I have a definite interest and that may have something to do with how I manage to put in the necessary study time, no?

The signs of spring are all around me--so much that it's hard to concentrate on studies if I'm anywhere near a window.

With rising costs, I'm already planning what I shall do with my garden space once the Georgia Collards run their course.

And I tried the most wonderful new cheesecake recipe for out last Friday night get together. It's a bacon cheddar appetizer cheesecake.
I'll post the recipe in the next couple of days.

And this delectable treat is a chocolate chip oatmeal bar with peanuts.

Very tasty and healthy (in a shady way).

Side note: The wedding dress shopping trip went off without a hitch! Sister and father were able to put aside their differences for the day on behalf of the bride to be. Ain't life grand?

Tuesday, March 11

The Brave New World

I admired my new hardwood floor Monday morning as I getting dressed for school. It looks so wonderful--and gives me hope that eventually we will actually get all the things done to the house that we'd like.

I pulled open a dresser drawer for a shirt while asking JB the day's forecast. I stopped in mid-sentence and screamed after seeing a big fat brown spider climbing among my favorite

I think I startled JB more than the spider.

After realizing I was in no real danger, JB pointed out that I should be happy the spider was in the drawer and not in the clothes I was wearing.

Good point.

He's into all that weather stuff and is in the habit of letting me know what we can expect, as well as what the weather is like in the cities where my daughters live.

I think the girls have come to appreciate this--just yesterday Jeni called while driving from her college to the town where her sister lives. She had been driving in the rain for some time and wanted to know the radar pattern of the storm.

From our brief conversation, I ascertained she would be shopping for a wedding dress with her father today. She's also very upset by the fact that her father and sister haven't spoken to one another for over 2 months. What should be a joyous "family" occasion--planning her wedding--is overshadowed by this feud.

It wasn't long after that conversation, that her sister called. She's in the habit of sharing her work schedule so she and I can plan when we have an opportunity to visit by phone. She's a bartender and there are days she works until midnight or 2 am. With that kind of schedule, she hardly welcomes an early morning phone call.

I gently interjected the wedding dress shopping trip into the conversation. Miss Jessica was quick to let me know she wanted no part of a shopping trip with her father and sister. She anticipated their would be controversy before they were through.

"No thank you", she said.

She wants to spend time with her little sis, but not her father. What can I say? I feel the same way. I avoid their father and speak to him only when absolutely necessary--like maybe 3 or 4 times at best in the past 5 years.

But I divorced the man. I paid to have him removed from my life. After 18 years of marriage, I realized this man was not a father, but rather a sperm donor. And his donations didn't end at home.

His irresponsible behavior is what has created this feud with his oldest daughter. His inability to recognize his shortcomings is what has fueled it.

But I take great comfort in knowing we are dealing with adults here-- and they can work it out themselves.

Saturday, March 8

So, You Got Plans?

I have learned that sometimes you just have to be very, very flexible.

Take today, for instance. I had planned on completing assignments due Tuesday. I know it's just Saturday, but I'm a non-traditional student so I try to be ahead of schedule. I have the wisdom of experience that reminds me its always better to be ahead than behind.

But on Friday, JB decided--since he had a bit of a break in the action-- he'd put that maple flooring down in the bedroom we've had stacked up in the the front room for a couple of years.

I always get very excited whenever he wants to do something like this because he is so meticulous about his work and because there are so many things left to do to complete this house. We have done a lot in our time together--it just needs more.

But after two days at it--shifting furniture and running outside to cut flooring--he really didn't want to finish it today. And he deserved a break.

He worked on the man cave instead and installed more boxes with knobs. He seems delighted.

I can't complain, really. After all, he cooked me dinner.

And that shot I have been wanting to get for so very long--the shot of Haji escorting me to the cattleguard--I finally attempted.

It's a difficult one, because I am driving and trying to shoot the picture at the same time. And if I slow down, my escort slows down. This is just my first attempt. But I suspect by summer's end, I may have what I want.

Friday, March 7

Learning From The Animal Kingdom

I think today I'll take the birds eye view of the world.
I'll be sure to take time to soak in the wonder and beauty of nature.

Maybe instead of putting 3 wheelbarrows of compost and mulch
on the garden, I'll just sit on the hillside and admire the view.

I might even nap.

If the sun gets too warm, I'll find some shade.

And if I have to run errands, I'll make the time to really look
at what I usually take for granted along the way.

Wednesday, March 5

A Tumultuous Tale of Women

I've been a long distance parent for 6 years now and I've finally come to realize my daughters are very strong individuals.

They opted to be independent--at 15 and 16-- after given that opportunity by the Texas Court System. Children are deemed competent at 15-- based on the definition of legal age--to make their own choices, according to Texas law.

So, the girls chose to stay in Texas with their father. Both were born in Texas, they argued, and all their friends were there. Truth be told, the three of them lived together less than 6 months. The girls were living independently at far too young an age.

And here we are 6 years later.

You have to learn to trust your decisions... have faith that you made the best decision based on the information you had at that particular time.

The high dollar Texas lawyer who shared that piece of wisdom was worth every penny I paid him. He and I changed Texas history by upsetting the Texas Firefighter's pension fund, when representatives stated they did not recognize QDROS. Needless to say, they do now.

Change is indeed, inevitable.

I get phone calls from both my daughters pretty regularly--3 or 4 times a week. Anytime there's a controversy, both will call within an hour or so of the other. I listen. They talk.

I offer encouragement in dealing with life's difficulties. I tell them worries today are replaced with new ones next month or next year. I advise them to continue developing their coping skills. Trust their instincts. Decide what kind of life they want and make it happen.

All this time, I have worried myself sick because they were on their own. But I've tried to find comfort in the core ideals and morality I impressed upon as little girls. On the occasions I forget this--and panic-- JB graciously reminds me. He tells me these childhood lessons I have taught them... will sustain them in any crisis.

Monday, March 3

Saturday, March 1

It's All Part of the Big Plan

I'm convinced the last 4 days of illness were planned with the explicit purpose of forcing me take a good hard look around.

I've barely gotten out of bed except to go to school--for the last two classes before spring break. I have the most beautiful view when I lie in my bed. The foot of the bed is right in front of the 6-foot patio doors that lead to the deck we planned on building in 2002. Needless to say, I have never stepped out that door (it's an 8-foot drop!). But I do enjoy the view. It's on the south side of the house, so by early afternoon the sun streams in fooling my plants into thinking it is summertime no matter what the season. In the wee hours of the morning, I can watch the moon as it moves from east to west while snuggled deep under the layers of my covers.

I have been tagged with a 4X4 meme by Poetikat, so here goes:

4 Jobs I've Had:
I got my first job at 15 as a waitress at a local restaurant. My pay wasn't much-- 95 cents an hour plus tips--but payed for car insurance and gas for my first car--a 1968 Corvair that Pop bought for me.
I also had the good fortune to be offered a job by the eccentric widow publisher of the local newspaper. When I was all of 18, I became the assistant advertising director. It was there I was first introduced to photography, paste ups and light tables.
I took a job at the local NBC affiliate in West Texas as public service director, after Miss Jessica was born. After I found out how much money the men were making as account executives, I crossed over. I got Minnie Pearl's autograph for Pop one year when she came for a Fall Preview Party.
After Miss Jenifer was born, I went to work for a typehouse. Our clients were actually advertising agencies. We provided the output for their billboards, magazine ads and such, based upon the company's library of more than 200 typefaces. Sounds very antiquated now, doesn't it?

4 Shows I Tivo:
I don't believe there is much on TV worth watching, much less recording. The only shows I make a real effort to watch are The Riches and Weeds.

4 Places I've Been:
Mexico: Since I don't live in Texas, I miss not being able to get that pure vanilla for $2.50 a bottle. I have to rely on my in laws and their cruises to replenish my supply since I moved back to Virginia.

Buggs Island: The first couple of years JB and I were married, we camped quite a bit. This place is a wonderfully well kept secret with its white sandy beaches.
Jamaica: Loved the culture. Loved the climate.
Blue Ridge Parkway: I've walked many trails with my parents and grandparents and have countless pictures and memories of picnics. As a child, I used to hold my breath, hoping the driver wouldn't take the parkway. As a adult, I know why they always chose it.

4 Favorite Foods
Ice cream: My absolute favorite is Rocky Road.
Fried chicken, especially wings. Jb makes excellent friend chicken.
Grilled chicken Caesar from Chili's.
Open-faced hot roast beef sandwich from Cracker Barrel. I don't eat this but maybe once a year, but it never disappoints me.

And my four tagees are:
and Kathy.