Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas trees and such

Getting ready for Christmas again! Can't believe how quickly this past year has gone. Seems like it just rushed by. Hard to believe that March will be two years since we moved to North Carolina. That just seems impossible to believe. The time has just whizzed by.
We put up our Christmas trees this past Thursday. We usually put them up the first weekend in December, but since Lauren is working most weekends these days, we did it on her day off.

The first one is the living room tree and the smaller one is in our dining room.

Now comes the hard part. Putting presents under them. I haven't done any, zip, zero shopping. Andrew did get one major item for one of the kiddo's but other than that, nothing... Can you say Last minute shopper! Yes that would be me. I just can't seem to get into the spirit of shopping early in the season. I suppose it is because I am not a shopper. I don't like to shop, so I put it off until the last minute. Not only that, but the gift list hasn't been completed yet. Megan has changed her mind a couple of times so far. Today she said to me that she didn't know anything that she wanted! Can you imagine that! Fifteen and she can't think of anything that she really wants! AMAZING!

Well, the weather outside is frightful and you know how I dislike cold weather. I am trying to start training for a 13.1 in the spring, but it isn't going to well. I can't stand to run in the cold, and every time I go to the Y to use the treadmill, I get a headache. I finally decided it was the cleaning supplies they use. The cleaning lady is always there when I go and the smell of the cleaner is so strong. I am very sensitive to those kind of things. It smells like pine-sol and I have never been able to stand pine-sol. The problem is, I go in the mornings while Noah is at school. That is really the only time I can go, so unless they would be willing to change their cleaning schedule or cleaning supplies, I guess I will have to let my membership go...

I want a treadmill for Christmas, but to get a good one, they are expensive and I just can't see spending that kind of money right now. So I suppose I will try to find some place else to get a run or two in each week.

Not much else going on, just the usual day to day living. Right now I am to tired to try to think of something clever to say, so this will be all for now.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

One Saturday in November

I just love the colors of fall. The bright reds, yellows, and oranges are so vibrant that you can't help but stop and look at them. There are so many of these beautiful orange/red trees around and I have wanted to pull off the road to photograph them. Today as I was driving home a different route from the library, I passed a school that had several of them across the front. Since it was Saturday, I pulled into the parking lot and stepped into a beautiful afternoon and begin walking around the tree taking various shots with the camera on my iphone.
I chose this one to add to my Daily Eye Candy project. After I got home, I begin to think about the name of this project of mine. Maybe I should change the name to Daily ICandy, considering that all the photos are taken with my iphone while I am out and about on my daily routines. These are definitely not planned shots, but things that catch my attention as I drive past them. They are often spur-of-the-moment shots, or the best-I-can-do-while-driving shots. I know what your thinking, but no, I don't put anyone in harms way while I take the photos.
I named this shot, Daily Eye Candy #13. Not because I have been doing this thirteen days, but because today is the 13th and I don't know how many shots I have done so far. So #13 sounded like a good number to me.
Well., today is the eve, of the eve of the beginning of my forty-fourth year on this planet, and I am not quite sure how I feel about that yet. Not that I have any influence on the matter one way or the other, it is what it is, I can't change that. But my feelings and attitudes are within my control, and at this point, I am not sure where I stand.
This getting older does bother me some, as I am sure it does most people. Aging is a scary prospect for me. I don't want to get to the place in life that I can't do things I want to do. I don't want to be limited by my body, my mind or my health. Getting older almost insures that at some point in the future those things will begin happen. I will reach a place where I will have to deal with those limitations. But thank God, at this point, I am healthy, in control of all of my mental facilities and have no physical limitations. For that I am extremely grateful.
At 44, I feel that I am perched somewhere between my youth and old age. With each passing year I teeter more to the other side. I am old enough to let go of the unimportant things that so often plague us in our early adulthood, but not yet to a place where I am looking back and wishing for the past again. I suppose I could look at this time as the best years of my life.
One thing I do know for sure is that these are the years that if I am ever going to do something, I need to do it now. With this knowledge in hand I am working on that list of "One of these days I'll get around to doing that," things. Losing weight, getting into shape and becoming a runner were on that list and I am currently in the process of doing just that. I have many other things on that list as well, but I will save those for another time.
For now, I am going to sit back and enjoy the rest of this day, because I will never again have the gift of another Saturday as a 43 year old woman. This is the last one and I want to get everything out of it I possibly can, so that when I look back on this day years from now, I will not have regrets. Well, there might just be one regret. I might regret that I didn't get up and drive to Tuttimelon and get that delicious cup of Dulce de leche gelato that I am craving. On the other hand, years from now I suppose whether I did or didn't won't be of much consequence in the whole scope of life.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daily Eye Candy

I am working on a little project that I have entitled :
Daily Eye Candy
365 Days of Beauty:
Photo's of Everyday Things

Here is a small sampling for you to view.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Chair

I love this chair. I think I have told the story of the chair before on here but I think it is worth telling again.
When I lived in Little Rock I did quite a bit of thrifting, junking, yard sale-ing...whatever you want to call it. One of my favorite places to "shop" was Mid Towne Antique Mall on the corner of Markham and Rodney Parham. Not necessarily because the prices were "thrifty" but because they always had great stuff. Most of it was more than my budget would allow for "junk" but I loved to go and look.
While out alone, enjoying some "me" time, I stopped in to see what was new. I found this great chair on the back side of the store in a little booth that was hardly big enough for the chair. I instantly fell in love. At the time it only had the seat cushion in it. I sat in it and put my legs over the arms of the chair and knew I had to have this chair. However, the $60 price tag was more than I like to spend on one thrift item. So I reluctantly walked away.
After leaving the store I drove home, which happened to be just down the street. I couldn't get the chair out of my mind. I had the perfect spot to put the chair and I knew that I would spend long hours in the chair reading. When I got home I told Andrew about it and he said, "buy it." How could he be so casual about such a thing I wondered.
I just couldn't be so haphazard about such a purchase. I had to have time to think it over; read: Talk myself out of it, tell myself all the reason why I didn't need to spend that much money on something that I really didn't need.
But instead, I decided to throw caution to the wind. I called the shop and ask if they would take less for the chair. I was told that if the purchase was under $100 they couldn't call the booth owner, but they could give me 10% off the item. So that meant the chair would only be fifty-four dollars. Only six dollars difference, but a world of difference in my book. Well enough that I decided to go right then and get the chair before someone else came along and snatched it away. So I told them to hold the chair I would be right there.
That is how this lovely chair became part of my life. I went to target and bought the two throw pillows. But other than that it looks like it did when I found it. I love the fact that it has had another life, somewhere else before I found it. It has a few scratches and nicks that show wear. It has a past, one that I will never know. I prefer used things to new, because they have a story, they have a past hidden in them. It makes things more interesting and appealing just as it does with people.
When we moved to North Carolina we put the chair in the living room in front of the front windows. I sat in it as often as I could. But at Christmas time we needed the front window area to put up our large Christmas tree, so the chair was moved into the master bedroom. I know it is September but the chair still sits in the bedroom. Actually Andrew has enjoyed the chair more than I have since it was moved. I rarely sit down in the bedroom. Mostly when I do make it upstairs to the bedroom, it is after a very long day and all I want to do is fall into the bed and sleep. When I do have time to sit, I usually do that at my desk or the kitchen table, but rarely in the bedroom. Andrew often goes into the bedroom to watch a game or do a crossword and he can be found sitting in the chair.
But today, being a long, lazy, carefree Saturday. I had nothing pulling at me; very few chores that needed my attention, so I decided to come into the bedroom for some alone time and sit in MY chair. And that is just where I have been most of the afternoon. Enjoying again this wonderful chair that I bought on a whelm without to much deliberation on my part. I am so glad that I did decide to throw caution to the wind and be spontaneous for a change. I think the chair looks great in its new location so I will have to find something to put downstairs in the front window for eleven months out of the year. Anyone know any great thrift stores in North Carolina?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Critics, Critics...everywhere!

To appease the critics...

News from the homefront:
Noah started to school three weeks ago. He is in a half day program and is really enjoying it. Today he starts playing soccer. Their first practice is this afternoon. I am anxious to see how he likes it.

Mom and Dad have been visiting for a few weeks and will be heading back south next week.

Lauren is still working as a photographer with a national portrait studio and is entertaining the company of a young man...I will say no more about that...

Megan is doing school and may be starting piano lessons soon. We tried to get her into school where Noah goes but they were at capacity.

Andrew is finishing up the job in the next few weeks and will be starting another job here. So we will be staying here for at least another year or so. We were glad to hear that. Not that we are just crazy about this area, but we are settled in and enjoying the house and our garden along with Noah in school and Lauren employed... And to be honest, we just weren't ready to pack and move again. So this will give us a little more time of being settled. I am sure by the time the next year passes, we will be ready to move on to a new place. The "little gypsy" is appeased for the time being.

This weekend Andrew and I are going on a trip to the mountains for a late twenty-second wedding anniversary trip. We will leave tomorrow and come back Sunday evening. Saturday morning we are running in the Asheville Citizen-Times 5K. I am excited and looking forward to our first run. We had planned to run one last month, but I got sick and was unable to train like I needed to. So when I saw that Asheville was having this one, I jumped at it. I love Asheville. I remember the fall of about 1986 when I attended University of North Carolina in Asheville. The campus was so beautiful. The air was crisp and cool and the leaves were turning and falling across the campus. I can close my eyes and go back to the spot where I use to sit in the grass between classes enjoy the pleasant weather and the smells of fall. Now twenty-four years later I plan to go back and visit those places that I would frequent. The race is downtown and although I am sure that it has changes a lot in the years, I am sure that I will still be able to recaputre the same feelings that these places evoked in me so many years ago.

Well, not a whole lot more to say right now. I am pressed for time. I need to get packed and start supper so it will be ready when I get home from soccer.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My favorite Banana Nut Loaf

My Favorite Banana Nut Loaf
for recipe see "recipes" in sidebar.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Okay, yes, I have officially been AWOL from this blog. I do feel bad for leaving it alone for so long. I could blame it on being busy, but I haven't been any busier than at any other time in my life, in fact, I may be less busy these days than usual.

I suppose I just needed a break from the blog...or maybe because I just didn't have much to write about. Also, I have been taking a creative writing class and I suppose I got my writing yang out of me in the class, and had little left for here.

Whatever the case, I'm BACK...

Well, let's see, were to start??

I started running. Was doing pretty good, signed up for a 5K, but I have been sick the last week and a half and only got one run in during that time. I am on antibiotics and have been left with no energy. But hopefully in a couple of days I can get back out there. Andrew and I started running together three mornings a week. We decided to go for our first 5K on the 14th of this month. Now I am really worried about it since I have been sick and will still be on the antibiotics the day of the race. But we decided to do it anyway, even if we don't reach our PR for the day. I suppose as long as we do it...Like John Bingham says, "The miracle isn't that we finish, the miracle is that we had the courage to start."

Finished my writing class, waiting for the next one to start the middle of the month. Looking forward to it, really enjoyed the first one. Still need to work on the daily discipline of writing. I get side tracked by other things and don't always sit down to write.

The following is a tongue-in-cheek, southern humor piece that was revised from a longer piece I wrote for my blog a couple years ago.

Southern Fried Wisdom

I have a confession to make…I can't fry worth a flip.

I can fry catfish, but I do that in a Fry Daddy, so that doesn't really count. When I fry in a pan the batter just falls right off into the grease and leaves the meat totally naked.

I have studied cookbooks and watched Paula Dean on the Food Network, but I still can’t get it to work for me. I took four years of home-economics in high school and as a true southerner my mom fried all the meat we ever ate, except when it was in a gumbo or in a cornbread dressing. Of course, there were my uncle’s famous summer barbeque's and the occasional crawfish boil on the creek bank. But our everyday, down home meals always included fried meat. Chicken, steak, pork chop, squirrel, rabbit, fish, deer, quail or any other poor critter we could find to batter and deep fry. We southerners as a group, do enjoy our fried food.

When I got older I jumped on the health food bandwagon, and now I am more of a bake, braise, boil, sauté, steam, broil, anything but fried, kind of gal. With that said, there are times when frying is just what the occasion calls for, like say, fried chicken for a church social. At those times I really would rather not have to drive to Popeye's, buy the chicken, come home, hid the box and pretend I have labored long and hard frying chicken all day. I really don’t like all of that deception.

A few nights ago I decided to try my hand at frying once more. I knew that somewhere inside this body had to be a frying gene or two passed down from my southern ancestry. With renewed vigor I thawed and wash the chicken, put it into a large bowl of buttermilk. I prepared my flour by adding Tony's seasoning, ground pepper, salt and a dash of garlic powder. Using the trusty cast iron skillet, just like grandma did, I heated the peanut oil. Each piece of chicken was coated with the flour mixture and dropped into the hot oil. After it browned enough on one side I turned it over and let it brown on the reverse side.

The mood must have been just right, and the stars aligned just so, because to my surprise, the crispy did not fall off of the chicken! It looked pretty enough for a picture.

What does this have to do with anything you ask?

Well, I asked myself that very thing when I sat down to write about it. I suppose it means that sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t. But even in the mundane, ordinary moments there is an opportunity to learn important truths about living.

Some things in life will come easy and sometimes we will struggle. Through it all we must learn to stay positive, be resilient and willing to try again, and sometimes it’s even okay to eat fried chicken.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rumors of My Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated

I am still here...just been busy with this thing called life. I do plan to make a post soon with pictures and the works. Until then enjoy your stay at My Little Slice of Heaven, feel free to look around and leave a comment...
Going on vacation in a couple of days and I will be reporting in on location from the road trip. Can't say where we are going yet, want it to be a surprise for some folks that we will be seeing while there...So check back in to find out where we are...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I have added a new feature, a recipe page. You can click on the link Recipes in the side bar. Here I will be posting a variety of recipes; family favorites, healthy recipes, and new ones that I have tried or plan to try. I have only added one as of today, but you can check back often to see updates.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend 2010

So I did something today that I have been wanting to do for some time. It wasn't some great feat of skill or brawn. I didn't scale Mt. Everest, or run a marathon. I made hummus...

I have loved hummus for several years; probably would have loved it before, only I had never tried it until three years or so ago. In these years since I first discovered this healthy little dip, I have said that I wanted to make my own instead of buying it ready made. The trouble came when I went in search of tahini.

What is tahini exactly? Well tahini is a lot like peanut butter only made with sesame seeds. It middle eastern in origin, and there they eat it as it is or use it to make hummus and a few other things.
When I tried to find tahini, I originally didn't have much luck. Then when I did it was only sold in larger containers...What would I really do with a large jar of tahini. I would only make hummus a time or two a month and the recipe doesn't call for a large amount. Not to mention, I am the only one in my household that even eats hummus. So I just never would buy any.

So today, I am looking for something to snack on and I had a bag of baked bar-b-que Lays potato chips; the only chips I eat other than Stacy's Pita Chips. But I wanted something to go with them...hmmm...I opened the fridge to find some chick peas left over from the day I made the Cobb salad for supper. So I decided why not try my hand at some hummus. Instead of tahini, since, well I didn't have any, I used peanut butter. I must say, other than the fact that I didn't use roasted garlic and all I had was garlic powder, I think it turned out fairly well for my first try.

If you want the recipe, go to the recipes page listed on the side bar of the blog.

Let's backtrack a couple of days. Friday we left around 1:00 heading to Blacksburg, Virginia for Andrew's nephew, Christopher's graduation. He was graduating from Med school and will be heading to Michigan for his residency. The trip was somewhat stressful and took us a bit longer than expected.

Saturday morning we woke later than we had planned and rushed around trying to get ready to be at Virginia Tech by 9:20 for the graduation at 10:00. Fortunately, Andrew's brother saved us seats. The auditorium was packed and the air conditioning wasn't sufficient to cool it off. To say it got a bit warm is an understatement. The graduation lasted for close to three hours and little man lost patience with sitting still for that long. Andrew had to get up and go out with him for a while.

By 2:00 we had changed our clothes, (parked behind a Walmart, next to a bed from a semi truck), eaten, (our second Subway sandwich of the trip), topped our gas tank off and were on the road back to North Carolina. We were all glad to be back home Saturday evening.

Sunday we heard an awesome message from Pastor Mitchell. I am always thankful to be reminded that God is all I need, and all I have to do is call on the name of Jesus. His scripture text came from Exodus 3:11-15. Verse 14 being the key text. "And God said unto Moses, I AM That I AM."

There was no service Sunday night, so we just spent the afternoon and evening relaxing and enjoying the fact that Monday was a holiday.
Today started with Andrew putting Cornish game hens in the smoker along with some potatoes. I grilled some steak and my first zucchini from the garden. Andrew made brownies and I baked a blueberry bread pudding since I don't eat brownies.

The afternoon ended with Andrew and I sitting on the front porch watching the rain, listening to Chris Botti and watching the humming birds fly in and out, jockeying for position at the feeders we have on the front of the house. I would have included photo's of that but those little hummers move rather quickly. All I could get with my camera was a blur.

I had planned to plant my peas today, however, the rain had other plans. I suppose I could have gone out earlier in the day, but I was busy around with other activities and didn't make it out there. Looks like there may be rain most of the week. I will have to be on lookout for the right time to catch it when it isn't raining and try to get them in the ground.
Bed time for Little Man is drawing near, so I will wrap this up with a couple pictures from the weekend.

Dr. Christopher Thomason and his dad, Mark and uncle Andrew

Blue berry bread pudding

Flag flying on the front porch in honor of those who sacraficed it all for our country and our freedom.

The first zucchini from our garden.

Yummy on the grill with a little sea salt and cracked pepper

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fig preserves and memories


the fruit of my childhood memories

I have always loved figs. When I was young we lived in south Louisiana and were blessed to have a large fig tree in our backyard. The tree grew right beside an outdoor patio. I was the unofficial fig picker in our family. After climbing up the tree and gathering from underneath, I would climb on a ladder to the top of the patio and pick the figs from the top of the tree. The leaves of a fig tree will irritate your skin and my exposed arms and legs would itch for some time after I climbed down. But in my mind, it was well worth the discomfort. Usually the fig gathering would happen when my granny was visiting. She would take the figs and make fig preserves from them. I couldn't wait to open the first jar of preserves and spread that sweet, gooey goodness onto a biscuit or a plain piece of toasted light bread. I know I was strange child, remember fried chicken liver was also one of my favorite meals...

Many years went by and I had pretty much forgotten about the figs of my childhood. I moved on to other delicacies. However, it is strange what happens to trigger those long repressed memories. It is also strange what craving pregnancy will produce.

When we lived in Arkansas and I was pregnant to with Noah, I developed a craving for figs. I searched high and low and couldn't find the first jar of fig preserves in any of the local grocery stores. It wasn't until a spring trip to the Bluegrass festival in Mountain View, Arkansas that I was able to satisfy that desire.

Tucked away in a little shop, along with the jars of local honey and pickled okra, were beautiful golden jars of fig preserves. I couldn't believe my fortune. I ate fig preserves on toast for weeks. When the jar was empty the search was on again to find more. After Noah was born I begin to visit the Farmer's Market in Little Rock and to my great fortune a vendor there carried a wonderful fig preserve. Since moving to North Carolina I buy a small jar of preserves from Harris Teeter, a local grocery store. I eat them spread on an Arnold's whole wheat Sandwich Thin with natural peanut butter. I often make a meal out of just that. When I do, I close my eyes and am once again transported back to my carefree childhood days when this wonderful brown, sweet treat grew in my backyard.

In the last few years since reacquainting myself with the delicious fig, I have thought of having a fig tree, to grow my own and put up preserves the way my granny did. Because of our "gypsy" lifestyle I didn't think that was possible. Then I began to read about people growing small fig trees in pots on their decks and I knew this was something I had to try.

Last weekend while Andrew, Noah and I perused the lawn and garden area of our local Lowe's store, I found it! Tucked away with some blueberry bushes, there were fig trees. These trees were about a foot and a half tall and and looked very healthy. I debated; should I, shouldn't I? I really wanted to but being a skeptic, I wondered if you could actually grow figs this way. I saw that they were marked down to ten dollars, so I figured, why not find out?

We purchased two large pots to bring home to re pot what we refer to as "our twins." They are two ficus trees that someone gave to our family seventeen years ago when my brother, Daren, was killed. We have had them ever since. They have been moved many times in those years and they have been re potted several times into bigger and bigger pots. They have had times of plenty and times when they dropped so many leaves I didn't know if they would make it. However, last spring when we moved here and they found their place on either end of our front porch, they have thrived like never before. I suppose the climate and conditions are just right for them to really grow.

Bringing our new little fig tree home we re potted it into one of the large terra cotta pots that we took the ficus trees from. It now sits proudly on our little deck. The leaves look great and it seems to like its new home. I go out regularly and speak encouraging words and imagine the day that I can walk out and pick fruit off of its branches and taste the incredible flavor and sweetness of my very own figs.

Last night Andrew and I sat on the deck in the light of a full moon rising behind us, with the flames of the tiki torches wafting citronella scent across our little backyard paradise, and we agreed that we wanted to go back and buy another fig tree to fill the empty terra cotta pot from the other ficus tree. It only seems fitting that we would have two figs growing together just as our ficus trees have done all these years. We will now have two sets of "twins" to carry with us through the coming years.

Here are some great reference sites to check out if your interested in figs...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

As of lately...

News from the home front:

Lauren is home from her two week stay in Charlotte. Taking a much needed couple of days of R and R before starting to work on Thursday.

Andrew had a golf filled weekend in Myrtle Beach and is home with a little sunburn and sore from all the golfing.

Megan did a wonderful job on the church Mother's Day photo's. She was thrilled this week to discover that her camera wasn't actually missing the mirrored lens after all. So we didn't have to send it off for repair. She is happily snapping photo's again with her own camera. She is also watching for the Fed Ex truck everyday for the last couple of days looking for her birthday present. She is getting an iPhone. She is very excited about that!

Noah and I have have been doing some planting and working in our little garden.

We have been having lots of rain the last few days. And according to the weather reports looks like more is on the way throughout the week.

For some of you who have read my facebook page you know I have been on a search for some time to find some Lady Pea seeds to plant in the garden. Sometimes they are called Lady Cream Peas. We use to grow them when I was young. My granny use to buy the seeds in DeRidder and give some to us to grow. They are a small pea, with a delicate flavor. Mixed with cornbread, they were Divine. So recently I have become obsessed with finding some. I searched the Internet when I was unable to find them locally. Apparently they are a regional crop, not grown or known of except in the far south; such as Louisiana, East Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi. The rest of the world just doesn't know what they are missing out on as far as I am concerned.

Finally I found some on eBay. Someone in Texas was selling them. I jumped on it immediately. When a couple of weeks went by and I still had not received my peas, I contacted the seller. To make a long story short, although I had changed my primary shipping address on my eBay account, my old address was still on the account somewhere, and that is the address that the seller chose to send my peas. Well, after several emails back and forth, he told me I would have to take up the matter with eBay. So I did. At first they ruled against me and decided not to refund me for the purchase. I chose to appeal the decision and after a little sarcasm on my part, they changed the ruling and refunded the full amount of the purchase. I was thrilled, although it was only six dollars and some change, for me it was the principle of the matter.

With my refund in my pay pal account, I set out to find more lady peas. Much to my chagrin, no one else seemed to have any. Well in the meantime, a wonderful friend of mine in Louisiana took it upon herself to hunt down these illusive peas. She checked several places in the DeRidder area, and although many of the "ole timers" knew what she was talking about, no one had them. She finally visited the Mennonite Nursery and there she found them! I think she was a thrilled as I was to have scored them. Yesterday I received a 1/2 pound of Elite Cream Lady Pea seeds. I am so excited. I can't wait for this rain to pass so we can get another bed made for the peas. If all grows well, I am going to get those wonderful peas of my childhood and my kids are going to get to experience the thrill of sitting around and shelling peas. So everyone wins in the deal! I don't know that my children would agree, but one day they will look back on it and be glad for the experience, I am sure of it...Thanks Dana, I owe you!

In other gardening news:

As of now, we have two and a half raised beds built and mostly planted. I have one bed designated for later season crops. Right now it has Yukon gold potatoes and sweet potatoes in it. I have two rows left to fill with something. Maybe some beans of some sort. If I can find some speckled butter beans, I think I will plant those there.

The other bed is filled with tomatoes of different varieties. Mostly Roma since we use those more often. Several types of peppers, zucchini and yellow squash, eggplant, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach and basil. I still have some room for a few other items, maybe okra and broccoli. This bed is already showing quite well. I have been pinching blooms from my tomatoes everyday in order for the plants to get established and put more energy into the roots and growth before they start to put on fruit. Apparently I wasn't as diligent as I thought, some managed to get by me. I now have several tiny little tomatoes growing underneath and tucked away behind leaves on the underside where they escaped my sight. I also have beautiful squash blooms that open so graciously every morning. I have discovered a couple of finger sized zucchini growing as well. I have already harvested and dried some basil, so this bed seems to be doing quite well.

The third, or half bed is filled with leeks, carrots, and green onion. I have space in the middle of the bed to plant more herbs like chives, cilantro, oregano and thyme.

The final bed will be filled with those wonderful Lady peas.

I do have garden photo's to post, I just haven't managed to get them downloaded onto the computer yet. I will have them posted soon.

On Books:
I just got this book in the mail yesterday. I can't wait to get started on it.

I have a couple more on order that I want to read. Other than online research and magazine reading, I haven't been doing much reading lately. I do have to say that since I got my iPhone last week, I am really enjoying the KJV Bible app. It is so convenient to read your bible anywhere you are with that.

Exercise and fitness:
It has been four weeks today since I injured my ankle. I have done very little in the way of exercising during that four week period. I did try to continue with strength training, but not as regularly as before the injury. I just got a bit discouraged that I couldn't do more. Starting today, I can begin slowly to work my way back into my routine. I have been watching what I have been eating and have stuck to my eating goals for the most part. I haven't weighed lately because I just didn't want to know I suppose. I suspect I have stayed right at the same weight through it all. Next month will be my one year mark with Curves and I had hoped to be at or near my original weight loss goal by then. With this set back and the fact that my weight loss just stopped several months ago, I don't think I will be there by that time. As of the last time I weighed, I was sixteen pounds away from my original goal. With the set back of the ankle and four weeks until the one year mark, I don't think there is any way I will get more than maybe five pounds off between now and then. If I can manage that much.

My running plan is to slowly work my way back to where I was before the injury. By doing mostly walking and very little running in the beginning. I have to admit that I am a little nervous getting back to the cardio exercise that I was doing, I am fearful of re injuring my ankle. I didn't enjoy being injured, as I am sure most people feel the same way. It was more the feeling of limitation than the actual pain. I don't like feeling that I am limited by anything other than my own desires. I think that is what this journey is about for me. Taking away the limits that I have allowed to control me for so many years. Taking back the power of choice. I understand there are limits with everything...there are things that are beyond our control and ability, but many things are in our hands to either make happen or keep from happening. So as I approach a turning point in my life, I don't want my physical body or my mind to put limits on the things I can do anymore. I want to be able to enjoy a much better life without physical limitations of illness as I get older. I know again, that things will happen, but if I do my part I am hoping to lessen the probabilities of certain preventable illnesses.

I have decided however, through this time of injury to celebrate the progress that I have made. Not to just focus on the goal but to also enjoy where I am today and realize that this is a journey, not just a goal out there to reach and then be satisfied. This is something that will continue on and on. I have allowed myself to be happy with what I have accomplished. To look at myself and be happy with now and what I have done up to this point. Before I was just so focused on the goal that I couldn't allow myself any reward for how far I have already come. But now, I am able to see my sucesses and be glad in them. No, I am not where I want to be, but neither am I where I was, physically or mentally. I am stronger, wiser and more determined to make this happen, to make the necessary lifestyle changes to be the person I want to become.

So as the saying goes; it is time to get back on the horse and continue on this journey.

Today's Quotes

Serendipity: Look for something; find something else, and realize that what you've found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for

~Lawrence Block~

Desire is the starting point of all achievment, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything

~Napoleon Hill~

Burning desire to be or do something gives us staying power- a reason to get up every morning or to pick ourselves back up and start in again after a disappointment

~Marsha Sinetar~

Monday, May 10, 2010

Another place and time

I just love days that are filled with relaxing and enjoying life. Some days are just so rushed and hurried that you actually forget to just take a breath and enjoy being alive. One of the disadvantages to growing up and becoming an responsible adult is that we are often so weighed down with our load of responsibilities, our worries, and all the "necessities" of life in our society that we forget to just enjoy living.
I remember the simple pleasures of being a child. Waking up each morning with a renewed sense of adventure. The thought that anything was possible and fun waited on every turn.
I think that feeling of endless possibility and the sense of wonder are the two aspects of childhood that I most miss. I can almost remember the point when I crossed over that threshold, the place of feeling anything was possible to the new reality of adulthood, feeling limited by life and its circumstances. Fully understanding the weight of reality and the fact that dreams don't always come true, no matter how hard you wish it to be.
But there are moments, although they are only fleeting now, moments that it seems as though I am breathing the same air and have been transported back to the 1970's when I was still a child. I can feel that feeling that is free of the load of life, free of the responsibilities of adulthood, and the capacity to believe that anything is possible...
I was reminded of this when I saw Noah sitting in the chair mindlessly watching TV, with Bentley the guinea pig on his lap. I was for a brief moment caught up in the wonder of childhood and enraptured by the simple art of enjoying each little moment that life offers.

Last Saturday Megan and I drove to Cameron to the Antiques Festival they hold there every May and October. This was our third time to attend. We had an enjoyable day although we didn't find much that caught our attention and even less in which to spend our money.

I did end up buying a wire basket with Farmers Market painted on it. I really didn't have anything special in mind for it, I just liked the way it looked. I thought it would be a good basket for gathering the veggies from the garden when it is harvest time. I also decided to purchase a sign that I had seen both times I had attended the festival previously. It is a framed sign that says:

Help Wanted
No Irish Need Apply

I plan to find a better frame to put it in and hang it in my bathroom upstairs. I don't know exactly why, but it caught my attention last May, and I saw it again in October. So I decided to finally buy it this time.
Here are a few more images from Cameron that caught my eye:

A little boys dream! If I had several hundred extra dollars to just blow, I would have brought this home to my little man, even if he is nearly to big to fit in it. But I figured there was a more sensible way to spend that much money...

Here are a whole fleet of boy toys

This house was actually the most interesting thing I saw

Unfortunately, it wasn't for sale

I loved this old gas pump. The colors were great!

This brought back some memories. We use to fight over who got to crank the handle. I also loved the blue color. Would have like to have had this to put on my front porch. But it is hard to have a minimalist lifestyle if you keep bring things home.

Old roller skates

An old tricycle
I don't know why I like old things so much. I suppose it has to do with being nostalgic for the past. The memories of another place and another time. An attempt to bring back those days and the people with which they were shared and enjoyed.
When I am around these relics from the past, I can conjure in my mind the life that these items have had and seen. I can for those fleeting moments be carried away, back to my childhood, back to that place when life was simple and carefree, when I was young and unencumbered by the weight of life and the adult world. When my mind was not burdened by the reality of a world that is full of hate and unhappiness, mistrust, lies, hurt, pain, and loss.
I lived a very sheltered life, a life full of love and peace. I was around adults that were kind and loving, who would never think of hurting a child. I feel very fortunate to have lived in a place and time where children could run freely about, playing and enjoying childhood without the worry of being exploited or abused.
We grew up in a idyllic world where we were able to dream good dreams, and have pure thoughts and not know of anything bad or fearful. A world before all of the modern day conveniences but also a world absent of our modern day perils.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sushi making

At the end of this post I couldn't get the photo's and words in the right place for some unknown reason. Blogger is acting up or something, so excuse the messy look of this post, it was not my intention. After what seemed like forever trying to correct it, I gave up and let it be!

I really enjoy eating good sushi. It has become one of my favorite foods to eat, second only to seafood. Anyone who really knows me knows that seafood, most any type of seafood, is what I could live on...give me access to good seafood and a fresh garden and I would be other foods required. But I have to say that I have really acquired a taste for sushi. Sometimes to the extent of actually craving this little bit of seafood and some veggies with a little cream cheese all wrapped up neatly in a nori/rice roll. Mmm...good eats!

Just look at it, how could you not want to grab some chopsticks and dig in?

For several years, Andrew and I have discussed casually that we should roll our own sushi. In much the same way we have discussed one day taking a trip to Italy. We figured one day that we would actually take the time to do it, but never got down to actually making preparations to do it.

Two years ago at Christmas I bought Andrew a sushi kit which included a book with step by step instructions for making sushi, a rolling mat, two sets of chopsticks, and a small bowl for soy sauce and wasabi. All this time the only thing in the kit that has been used are the chopsticks. We use them for the take out sushi that we buy.

We have actually gone as far as purchasing nori, sushi rice and wasabi powder for this sushi making that we wanted to do. But it has been in the cabinet unused, until yesterday.

Andrew took the afternoon off from work to do a few things around the house which included putting soil into my second garden bed and seeding the back yard. We spent a wonderful afternoon working together in the yard. For the occasion I cooked oyster po' boys for lunch that we both love and when we started discussing what to have for supper, I casually said, "why don't we roll some sushi?" That was all it took...

Although the rice seemed a bit moist, it seemed to work and tasted great.

Andrew decided to go with the smoked salmon first.

Look at that, rolling it like a pro!

Works like it is suppose to work

Looks perfect to me
Ohhh! Can't wait to try it! Looks so pretty!
I got the first bite and I have to say, it was really good. The flavors were all there, the little crunch from the cucumber and the creamy texture from the cream cheese and avocado. They all blended together very nicely, with the wasabi sauce adding a little kick! The only thing we were missing was the sesame seeds on the top.
We had a wonderful evening rolling and eating sushi together. The day was almost perfect. So now that we have finally done something we have talked about for so long, who knows what we may try next. Actually honey, I was just looking at some travel sites, and it is a great time of the year to
travel to Italy....
We all ate until we were stuffed. Even Megan ate until she could eat no more. All but Noah...he's not into sushi. He didn't like the way it smelled, or the way it looked. He wouldn't even try it. He even asked me to move my plate so he didn't have to look at it! Oh well, he's only four years old, and Megan wouldn't eat sushi when she was his age either. So I am sure that with time, he will come around and decide he actually likes all of this disgusting looking stuff his parents try to feed him.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Just the day to day...

Yes, I have been very neglectful of this blog lately. I am sorry that I haven't made time for it in so long. I have been a bit busy but that isn't an excuse for not posting something.

At the moment Lauren is in Little Rock for a visit. She left last Monday to go back for Mid-America youth conference at FPC in North Little Rock. She is heading back starting today. She is leaving there going to her grandmother's in Tennessee, then will head back here tomorrow. She will then have to leave here on Sunday to go to Charlotte for two weeks for training for her new job. Her job will begin here on the 20th. I just hope that she won't get back here Friday so exhausted and tired from all the running she has been doing in Little Rock, that she ends up getting sick from it. That has been known to happen in the past.
Kids...What can you do? I suppose they have to learn from their own mistakes. I know that is how I learned most of the things I know today...because I was so hard-headed and didn't listen to the voices of wisdom. So I had to go through the school of hard knocks...I graduated with honors! I have tried to pass on the knowledge I gained from all of those mistakes to my children. Let's just hope that one of them didn't inherit the hard-head gene and actually will accept the advice I am offering.

Around the house:
I have one raised bed nearly full of plants. I am going to put in the last of them this week. The second raised bed is getting soil today and I will be planting in it this week also. There may be call for a third bed, but we will see after I get the others filled. I also have some gourd plants coming up from the seeds Noah and I planted. I have always loved growing gourds. I have been growing them off and on, depending upon if I have had the space, since the 1990's. I have grown them in Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas and now in North Carolina. I still have some dried ones that I grew back in Louisiana years ago and some from Arkansas. I tried a couple of new varieties this year, so we will see how they turn out.

Megan is working on school work and working on a website for her website building. She had taken a break from art class beginning the first part of the year until spring. We are now trying to decided when she will start back. She is really wanting to take piano lessons, so I am searching for someone that can teach her. I am so very surprised that there are no more people in the churches we have attended that teach lessons. There are so many talented people, but no one seems to be interested in teaching. I will have to keep asking around.

Noah is growing like a weed. He is so active. He has been spending most of his days outside playing in the backyard. He loves to swing and play in his sandbox. But a lot of the time he is walking around in the "forest" exploring his world. We have a grove of trees on one side of the backyard that he calls the forest, and he loves to play in there. He has also been helping me plant the garden. He is such a little worker. He loves to do anything like that to help. He is strong too, he doesn't get tired and give up very easily. He just keeps right on going. It sure does help him sleep good at night also. So I suppose that is a good thing.

The job is coming along according to plan. We probably won't know anything on the next job until July or August. So for now, we are here and I plan to continue to be here until they tell us otherwise. I am just praying that wherever we move that there will be a great church and we will really like the area. I am also praying it isn't Mississippi. I really don't want to live there. No offense to anyone that does. It just isn't a place I would care to live. For that matter, I don't care to go back to Louisiana to live either, and I am from there.

It is a cool morning this morning. We had a little rain and a front come through yesterday and it brought the sunshine and cool winds today. As I sit here in the kitchen I can see the shadows of the trees swaying on the wall beside me. I think the high temps today aren't even going to reach 70 degrees.

I have been making a real push to up my exercise routine and watching everything I eat. Trying to get the scale to move again. I am down a pound or two now. So I hope that it is going to continue to move downward. The only problem is last Tuesday evening while running, I twisted my ankle and fell. I heard a loud pop sound and it really scared me. I thought sure I had broken my ankle. But I got in and took my shoe off and there was no swelling. It did hurt pretty bad, but no outward signs of anything. I had the kids pray for me and we prayed that it wouldn't be broken and would heal quickly. So that put my exercise off at least the running part. I did manage to do some light cardio and strength training during the week. So my ankle was better, and I assumed was okay, and I did some heavy cardio and strength training Monday evening and yesterday I got out and dug up the dirt and cleared out the grass and debris in the new garden bed. Last night my ankle really started hurting again and I noticed some swelling. So I think I may have re-injured it. I will continue the exercise that I can do, but will really have to be careful what goes in my mouth. I will reach my one year membership at Curves in June and I haven't officially weighed in or measured since I joined. So I am making a big push to be at or near my original goal when I reach the one year mark. I have about six weeks or so before that time and I am hoping for good results. I just don't want this ankle injury to interfere with my progress.

The little dogs are barking wanting to go outside this morning, so I guess I need to let them out and get Megan up to start school. I have some household chores to get done today and I want to work on a couple of projects I have going in my craft area. So until next time I will leave you with a couple of quotes.

Thought for Today

Warning! Dates on calender are closer than they appear

Spend the afternoon, you can't take it with you
~annie dillard~

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the
friends I want to see
~john burroughs~

To changes ones life. Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly.
No exceptions.
~william james~

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Working out, feeling good

It has been a few really nice days lately. I have been getting outside more and really enjoying the weather. We got our raised garden bed built, but now I am waiting on the okay to go ahead and plant. I am listening to some of the older folks who have lived in this area for years. Being from further south, I would have probably put some things in the ground already, but they say wait, we could get another cold spell. So I wait. I did build a small bed along the fence and planted my gourd seeds already. I did that on Saturday. Gourds need more time to come to maturity and I figured it wouldn't hurt them as long as we don't get a frost.

I have been struggling with the bathroom scale! We are not friends right now. I haven't lost anything in weeks...I lost 25 pounds and then nothing...nothing for weeks now. In fact, I have put on a couple of pounds. I am sure that it is only the fact that muscle weighs more than fat...yadda yadda...because I am continuing to see a difference in my body and in the way the clothes are fitting. So I know all this work isn't in vain. But the numbers are discouraging. If I could just drop a pound every once in a while, as long as it was moving some...So the last couple of weeks I have upped the intensity levels on my workouts, pushed harder and I am shaking up my routine some. Instead of the same thing every day, I am changing it up some. I have been trying to do a morning workout and an afternoon workout.

Yesterday I went to Curves and had an awesome workout. I did three rounds, hitting them hard each round. Then yesterday afternoon. I did about 25 minutes of strength training in the garage and 30 minutes on the elliptical. I worked it hard. I could really feel it when I finished, completely worn out. But in a good way, an accomplished way. Today I am thinking of adding my Tae Bo back into the mix. I use to love doing Tae Bo. I also have a Beach Body Slim in 6 dvd that I bought way back when we lived in Corpus Christi, before I got pregnant with Noah. I only did it once and boy did it make me! I was so sore for days, but then I wasn't use to doing exercise regularly so thinking maybe I will pull it out and try to start it. There are a lot of squats and things like that in it. So I may do Tae Bo this morning and try that this afternoon.

I really like my Asics shoes. They fit great but now I am having an issue with ball-of-foot pain and my three middle toes go numb after walk/running for 20 minutes or so. It happens on the elliptical also. So I read that I need to get an insert for that. I have been trying to get out three
days a week for a two mile walk/run. I start out walking for a few minutes then I pick a point to run to, then I walk again and find another point to run to. I am trying run half of the time, broken up into short distances. I can feel I am getting stronger and my stamina is getting much better. I am still a little leery of my shins though. I am running on asphalt and after a bit I can feel it in my shins. So I ease off a bit. I have a fear of shin splints. I know they happen, but I don't want to get them right now at this point. It would sideline me at a point I need to be working up to more. So, slow and steady wins the race, is my motto for now.

I started on a six-week plan to try this working out twice each day and to pay close attention to what was going into my mouth. I started re-evaluating everything I am eating. A few things crept back into my diet that I really don't need, so I am cleaning my food intake up once again. I am cutting out the white chocolate mocha treat that I use to enjoy once or twice a week from Starbucks. I am cutting out the Stacy's pita chips and some of the mindless snacking that went along with having a bag of them in the house. After six weeks I am going to see what my efforts produce.

I feel good about where I am, and where I am heading physically. I would like to get off another ten pounds at least. But I know it takes time. I know that sometimes your body hits a plateau and you have to readjust to that level before you can move on. So that is where I am today. But I know that I have come a long way in the past eight months. I am looking forward to seeing where I can get to from here.

Most of my adult life I have wanted to be physically fit. I wanted to be a runner and I have never been willing to put in the work to accomplish that goal. Now I feel like I am on the right path. My head is in the right place and I feel like I know what it takes to get to the goal I have set. I really feel like I am on the edge...I feel like this is my opportunity to make this happen. I want to see just how far I can go with it. I want to spend the next 20 years and beyond of my life being active and healthy. Getting older isn't something I like to think about. But it is going to happen there is no denying it. I just hope by getting physically fit that I can avoid some of the medical issues that older people face.

I'm not trying to defy age, just trying to get my body in it's best shape in order to meet old age with a better attitude and more physically fit. Maybe this is my last ditch effort to try to stave off old age a bit more. I have a "now or never" kind of feeling about this whole thing. I see that if I wait any longer, it might be to late to reach the place where I would like to be physically. So yes, maybe in some way this is an attempt on my part to defy age, to trick it into staying away from least the effects of age. By working out and getting into better physical shape I can feel younger and more energetic.
Although forty-three isn't considered old in our culture, I do think there is a mentality in some places that you are moving into a different part of your life and that you should act or behave in a certain way. I know some forty + year old people that are old, because they have an old mind set. They think they are old, so they are. Their minds tell their bodies that they are old so the body begins to be old. I think that is a generational thing. I think they saw their parents at that age being old, so they just assumed that they would be old by forty also. On the other hand, I know some ninety year old people that seem very young. They are active, alert and energetic. They move like someone half their age and they are cheerful and happy in their lives. They have a young mentality. So it shows you that your mental attitude makes the difference.
As I work on the physical me, I am also working on my mind. Reshape my thinking about life and the expectations I have about where my life is and where it is heading. I have heard people say for many years that their 40's and 50's were their best times in life. I can see how that would be. I think as you reach your 40's, you have learned a thing or two about the world. Some people spent their 20's and 30's trying to obtain, build, and create a life or a living. Then when you reach your 40's and 50's you realize that some of the truths about life you always held weren't really true after all. And you also reach a place where you no longer try to please other people or impress other people with your accomplishments and what you have amassed in life.
Maybe you see that what you thought was important at twenty, isn't really that important in the whole scheme of life after all. Maybe you realize that the people you were trying so hard to impress, weren't worth the effort.
I have always been a late bloomer. But I find that after reaching forty I begin to fit more comfortably in my own skin. I finally fit me and accepted me for who I was, not for what I was trying to be or what I thought I should be at forty. I let go of the expectations I had about what my life was suppose to be, and how it was "suppose to" become, and I just learned to enjoy where I was and what was happening, even if it wasn't a comfortable, pleasant place. Like the bible says, finding contentment in whatever state you are in. I have found an inner contentment in so many areas of my life. I have lived long enough that I know there will be times of joy, times of sorrow, times of plenty, and times of want. I know that whatever I am facing that with time the situation will change. The old saying, "This too shall pass." I have lived long enough to see that and understand that time passes quickly. What today feels like an impossible task or hard time, soon will be only a memory. Another time that God shows Himself true in my life. I know the things God has brought me through and I can look back now and know His hand was on me. So in faith, I understand that His hand will continue to guide me and bring me to new places and new understandings.
For this truly is journey that we are on...we are all trying to find our way. I think by accepting where I am, I am better able to understand that there is a reason for it, there is a purpose that is higher than my own and the desires that God places in my life are also there for a purpose. But I need to learn to put aside my thoughts and desires or my expectations and allow Him to show me the real purpose and lead me to His desired outcome.


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