Wednesday, July 30

Send The Waaambulance Away

Thank you, thank you Unrelaxed Dad for being the party pooper at my pity party yesterday. Your comment helped me realize what I should already know--I'm pretty darned lucky.

The commute sucks but it is by way my comfy little Saturn--which gets 34-36 mpg--as opposed to standing room only transportation.

When I arrive, there are no time clocks or micro managers. I am left to do what needs to be done. There's also one of those fancy, schmancy single cup coffee contraptions complete with an assortment of coffee and tea--offered AT NO CHARGE.

And did I mention there's a cafeteria on site, complete with short order grill and salad bar?

Dress is business casual.

Having said all that, I feel a bit like a spoiled brat for whining about the commute. After all, I am 50 this year and we all know it's much harder to find a job when you're over 40.

I am now happily living, working and eating.

The eating thing is going through a major over haul as I am trying to improve the body image before birthday number 50 rolls around...

Tuesday, July 29

Everything But The Kitchen Sink

I love my kitchen. We redid it 4 or 5 years ago and I have plenty of room to do all kinds of cooking. I just don't have much time these days.

The 40 minute commute is governing my life.

Its a race with living. So, do we work to live or live to work? It's much akin to the chicken and egg--the more you think about it, the more frustrating it becomes--there is no real answer.

Saturday, July 26

It's All On A Wheel

What goes around comes around. We reap what we sow. We've all heard it and shit it off for nothing more than an old cliche'.

Not true.

What do you think makes us worry so much about out children? It's what we did and got away with--that's what make us the most concerned.

We know.

It's is indeed all on a wheel. The sad part about is that our parents worried (we never realized that until this very instance) and we are doomed to the same fate. There's not one single thing we can do to change it. It's like Momo always told me--experience is a hard teacher, but it sticks with you.

So, if you want to share my burden--worry about a daughter that is accustomed to flat ground that is suddenly faced with curves in the road, and worry that she may or may not be the best judge of character, and pray that I will be able to have faith enough in her to get a good night's sleep now and again.

Thanks for helping me out. It gets to be a bit too much sometimes...

Friday, July 25

Mexican Manicotti

This was one of the dishes I made for Miss Jessica's 24th birthday last Sunday. It's a Tex-Mex twist on an Italian dish.
I apologize for no pictures. That just means it all went very, very quickly!

1 lb lean ground beef
1 can refried beans
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 package (8 ounces) manicotti shells
1 1/2 cups water
1 jar (16 ounces) picante sauce
2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican style cheese

In a bowl, combine the uncooked beef, beans, chili powder and oregano. Spoon into uncooked manicotti shells; arrange in a greased 13X9X2" baking dish. Combine water and picante sauce; pour over shells. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the frig 30 minutes prior to baking. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Uncover; spoon sour cream over top. Sprinkle with onions, olives and cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes loner or until cheese is melted.

I also made my Taco stuffed Pasta shells, bacon cheddar dip and queso.

The queso is really easy and always a hit. I put one can of chicken broth and a can of Rotel in a crock pot. Then I brown 1 lb sausage; drain it and add it to the pot. Then I cube 3.5 pounds of velveeta and add it to the mix. (you can add a small 4 ounce can of green chilies, if desired.)Simmer until smooth. Serve with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, July 23

If You Wanna See A Rainbow have to put up with a little rain.
I learned today that my hours were being cut from 40 t 33. I was ecstatic! The thought of school in less than a month was weighing heavily on my mind--and my schedule/ I just hope it lasts!

During the workweek, I'm not worth much after work when I get home from the commute. I hope that all soon changes and I can post my Tex-Mex recipes for you in the next day or so.

Time for bed...

Saturday, July 19

Turkey Trot

Friday finally arrived! The end to the work week, and the beginning of some wondrous social interaction.

It began with the Turkey trot. JB and I went down to visit Austin Nichols. He flies now. He eats his weight in candle flies as well.

My little friend was busy fetching them from the back porch and hand-feeding them to him most of the evening.

And later that evening, my best friend in the whole world--that I've known since I was 16--stopped by for a visit. What a treat for my oldest daughter to meet her. More on that later, I promise.

Here's those crepe myrtles that block the setting sun each evening. There are massive and remind me that I need to prepare for the onset of Japanese beetles. The honeybees are having a field day right now.

Thomas is still pissed over Lina-- but he's getting better with it, I think.

And my Amaryllis is in full bloom! This was a gift from a neighbor more than 2 years ago, one Christmas. I love that it reacts so well with its surroundings and surprises with me with blooms twice a year now.

And tomorrow is Jessica's 24th birthday. I have a huge Tex-Mex meal planned.

I've asked Momo and Pop to relay stories of when they were 24. What were you doing when you were 24??? And what wisdom do you have to bestow??

Thursday, July 17

Casting Shadows

This evening I sat at the kitchen table and propped my feet up as I sipped a glass of Merlot. While waiting for the oven timer to signal dinner, I found myself being hypnotized by the shadows dancing on the wall across from me.

The sun was sinking slowly, but had pushed through the large crepe myrtles by the back deck to capture it's last moments of attention.

It's as if it was hoping for a second wind--but finally surrendered--knowing full well it was really done for the day.

Tuesday, July 15

Good Intentions

It was just an ordinary day and started with a morning bath.

A little playfulness in between...

Then the catnip was introduced.

What was this stuff??

And what is it doing to me? I can't let go... I'll keep it close--just in case.

But for now, I think I'll take a little nap.

Friday, July 11

Only The Strong Survive

This is the last one standing of the 13 eggs--and his name is Austin Nichols. My little friend just calls him Austin. A rather dignified name for bird, wouldn't you say? I was confused until I learned than Austin Nichols was the guy who invented Wild Turkey. I have had a taste now and again--its been quite a few years-- but was never aware of that fact!

I guess we do truly learn something new every day--if we're open to the possibilities, that is.

He's loose in the house while folks are at home, and put safely away while they are out. But he's doing well overall, and hanging in there. It's quite an adjustment on everyone.

My little friend runs after him most of the time with a paper towel.

Bless her heart, I couldn't do it. My Jeni had lovebirds that, I swear, that must have gotten into shit-slinging contests--and they were caged! Birds are just not clean animals.

But I admire my friend. She saved Austin's life. And she is doing the best she can to make sure he finds a place in this world.

She is --by all rights--his mother.

Wednesday, July 9

Things Are Shaping Up

The absolute highlight of this week has got be the arrival of my Victoria's Secret Semi Annual Clearance bras. Hurry! There's only two days left!

Being on sale and all-- I ended up with one bright orange and one key lime, along with the prerequisite blush pink and ivory.

Momo always told me to never skimp when it comes to a good bra. I have to admit there's something nice about having good lingerie--even if you're the only one that knows.

And my best friend in the world--that I've known since I was 15--confessed to me last visit that she was forever in my debt because I introduced her to Victoria Secret bras. As a result she looks better in her clothes, having retrieved the better part of her bosom from it's hiding place under her arms.

I recommend the Body by Victoria line. You'll thank me, if you give them a try.

Tuesday, July 8

Sometimes It's More About The Small Sparklers

Don't give up on me. I'm just tired. I'm still getting acclimated to a 40 minute commute and an office building the size of a small city.

But I'm not complaining--I'm thankful.

I rise at 5 am to have coffee and breakfast and a shower before I follow some local who's intent on driving 4o mph in a 55 mph speed zone. Then I walk myself to death in this huge ass building with so many people that they have their own cafeteria! But the food is good, actually--and moderately priced as well. I am lucky.

At the end of the day, I drive home while mentally planning dinner. Today we managed to have dinner by 7:30 pm, so I believe I'm getting in the groove of things.

And after dinner tonight, Miss Jeni's purse rang me and I listened to her fiancee' tell their guests all about sonar and algorithms. I'm sure you're familiar with the phone call from someone who never made the call--the one where the phone is so far down in the purse that something hits redial and you hear all kinds of things that were never intended for you to hear.

But all I really heard from this unintended phone call was the sound of life moving on.

Wednesday, July 2

Life Is Moving Swiftly On

We're all hanging out and doing our own thing. Miss Jessica is in and out with her schedule and I'm grabbing hugs on the run and trying to bestow motherly wisdom on the fly. No time for prep work--I have to lay it out because time is of the essence.

I did manage to paint my toenails--this morning. It's overrated, I still believe. Too much upkeep for so little return--but that's just me.

JB gave Blue a bath and he (Blue) seemed visibly pleased.
JB was pretty happy about it as well.

I thawed 2 pounds of shrimp for something pretty tasty.

I mixed up some fresh garlic and a few red pepper flakes and
cooked up some Garlic Shrimp. Here's my simple recipe:

2 pounds shrimp, peeled
8 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons Parsley

Put olive oil in pan with garlic and cooked until browned. Add pepper flakes. Throw in shrimp and then parsley. Stir until shrimp turns pink.

Note: the garlic is wonderful but may have after effects!

Tuesday, July 1

It Is What It Is

I feel like I have been neglecting to keep you all abreast of the happenings here in our little kingdom. There have been so many changes and adjustments.

Miss Jessica is gainly employed and enjoying "the easiest job" she has ever known. I get hugs every day and find comfort in knowing she is close enough to get comfort or give comfort when needed. She is honest to a fault and has pointed out that I am getting old, my pores are large and I don't spend enough time "making myself pretty."

She's 24 next month--it's obviously more important to her to be pretty, than it is to me. I have given up hairspray, and only paint my toenails when faced with open-toed shoes. It's just that I realize my energy is a hot commodity and should be used where it can have the most impact.

I am more settled, I think, with my position in the world and more accepting of myself and my surroundings.

It is what it is, as JB often tells me.

But I'm in a happy place. I am happy that I realize that spinning my wheels just tires me out and gets me nowhere. I am happy to realize I cannot control the thoughts of others, but only my reaction to them. I working on remembering this on a daily basis...

The new job is working out. I have 40-minute commute and a job that is more than I had hoped. Life is good and I am learning to ride the waves.