Friday, June 26, 2015

Too Funky

Disclaimer:  I am writing this blog without the assistance of wine or vodka and pretty much without caffeine either...I had a recurrence of my diverticulitis and my doc has me on meds that don't mix up so nicely with alcohol and in an effort to "be kind" to my system I have eased back my DP 10 consumption...so buckle up this may be a funky ride...I don't always drink when I blog but often it tends to make me a little more mellow and a little less irritable so things may get...funky....

Helllllooooo Darlings!

I'm back to blogging...

sort of...

Today was a momentous day for our country and I just had to blog about it...

I know NONE of you reading this are unaware but just in case you missed it...

THE SUPREME COURT FINALLY RULED THAT STATES CAN NO LONGER PROHIBIT SAME-SEX MARRIAGES

Thank goodness!!!!

Because now we can stop using the term "same sex marriage" and just call it "marriage"!

And everyone can have the legal right to marry and have the legal benefits of marriage...

and divorce

For me personally it is a huuuuuuge thing...

mostly because I have gay loved ones and friends and so I am super excited for them...

and I am really hoping I get invited to some super amazing weddings...you know that they will be fabulous don't ya? 

And as I side note I am available for the position of "Flower Girl"...I far prefer that to bridesmaid...it's so much more fun to go traipsing up the aisle and throw flowers...and everyone thinks you are cute...I've already told my friends SweetSteph and JesstheBest that I have claimed that position should they chose to marry...and I guess I am confirmed because I got a confirmation message with my name checked...

yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay

I will happily be your flower girl as long as I get to wear something very sparkly or princess-like or drop dead amazing...

I saw a lot of love and cheering on FB...more than I have probably ever seen...every time I opened up to FB I saw such beautiful joyful posts...

there were rainbows and unicorns and sparkles and glitter and hearts everywhere...

or maybe that was just my closet...

no...it was FB too...

My son says I am "the gayest straight woman ever" and he once said he was sorry he wasn't gay because he was pretty sure it would "complete your life Mom" and once when I told him his dad wondered if he was gay because he didn't date anyone he said "Dad needs to learn the difference between Gay and Geek.  I am a Geek.  Girls think gay guys are cool and they do not think geeks are cool at all.  Girls come to me to ask me about chemistry...they don't think of me as someone to go out with.  And besides, if I was gay you would have totally known it by now because you would be the perfect mom to come out to...and you would have been all loving and happy about it..."

yup that's my son

I will wait while you applaud

done?

oh wait one of you is still clapping in the back...

So yeah I was super excited to see all the love on FB...

A lot of my more conservative friends chose to just be quiet and post about other things...some people don't have a reason to feel connected to it...my connection is just that I love people and I believe everyone should love whoever they chose...

but then the hardcore Christians showed up and one or two other of my FB friends posted in an effort to appear controversial and get attention or just to show they world what a great Christian they are...
I tend to ignore those conversations...

I did feel compelled to respond to one friend's post about how he/she was going to pray for God's mercy...after the 8th time or so he/she said something about God's mercy I finally had to ask him/her what he/she thought was really going to happen?

I mean if fire and brimstone was going to reign down on us I felt compelled to warn my children...and if Armageddon was going to happen I needed to find Bruce Willis because he can save us, you know...

So I asked why he/she was so worried because I really couldn't figure out how if John and Tom (not real names...I don't know a couple who are named John and Tom) got married how could that ruin our country...and then I mentioned that we are so evolved that we let the Kartrashians be famous and that maybe my divorce was more detrimental to the state of marriage than a gay couple marrying was...

He/she sort of threw some brimstone back at me (I hope it made him/her feel better) and then proclaimed to be a loving and non-judgemental person and never answered the question as to why he/she felt we needed mercy but just went on and on about how close he/she is to God and doesn't judge other people at all...but had just claimed over and over that God needed to have mercy on us...

I backed out and told him/her that he/she was entitled to his/her opinion...

because you can't argue with crazy and you can't reason with a child...

and you can't make someone open their eyes to what is truly loving if they can't see their own issues...

a lot of very self righteous people tend to be the ones who have the most junk to fix...

I should know...

because I can be that person...

I'm not exempt from that emotion...

I have gotten full of myself before...many times...on this blog in particular...

like right now...

But I did see a lot of people who tried to argue against it use the "God says" and "The Bible says" lines...

I refuse to get into that argument here on my blog...

all I will say is that I am not a theologian or smart enough to defend that argument or do it justice..

And I think God loves all people of all colors and all sexual preferences...

One friend had such perfect responses I wish I had seen what he had written before I tried to reason with the "God have mercy" person...he's sorta my hero today...I found his responses to be on point, funny and insightful...and he never got ugly or took it low...Way to go Nixi!

there were a few comments that just got nasty...comments about sex...

and before I write this do I really want to go there?

yes I do...

I don't give a darn what anyone does in their bedroom and how they chose to make love to each other...

but don't sit there and say ugly things about how people make love and then go watch or read "50 Shades of Gray" and feel ok about yourself...or enjoy the part in the movie where you see the two girls kissing and it turns you on but then you say "gay sex is gross"...

what two consenting ADULTS do with each other in the name of love, or fun, or pleasure is ok by me and not my place to applaud or condemn or judge...

please note I say ADULTS here...I'm not ok with pedophilia

not ok

not ok

not ok

two consenting adults enjoying each other is not my business...and it's not yours either...

what I do in my bedroom is no one's business...

ok I will kiss and tell here...I have 3 cats in the bed with me...one sleeps next to me and one at my feet and one occasionally has to sleep draped over me...I know it is shocking...

go get yourself a cooling cloth and settle down...

but seriously who's business is it?

no ones...that's who...

So the people who chose to get ugly and talk about sex just look stupid to me...and I ignored those too...

How the heck did I end up here on this path of writing?

wine...

yes...let's blame wine...

BECAUSE WINE

because I haven't had any...or caffeine to keep me focused...

I think in my rambling ADD way what I am trying to say is that why does anyone truly think that approving marriage equality is going to really hurt our country or marriage in general?

I think that gay people have it hard enough with the prejudices they face from others...

I can't imagine what it must be like to be a gay teen...being a teenager is hard enough but being a gay one adds an extra layer to it all...and I also hurt for their parents who have to watch their child question themselves and struggle...

I had one friend who said to me that another friend won't know what it is like to go and check on your child in the middle of the night to see if he/she is ok and hasn't hurt his/herself because he/she doesn't want to be different (yes, that made me cry thinking of that...big ole tears...)

no...no mom should ever have to feel like that or do that...

it's hard enough to watch your child become a teenager and then an adult but when you know your child will have hurdles to overcome just because of who they love that is heartbreaking...

and so I hope that todays ruling will make some of that easier for kids now and in the future...

I have gay friends who are older and lived in times when there was even more prejudice and you didn't see gay families on tv....it had to be hard for them...

I live for the day when it is not "special" that a tv show features a gay family...that it is all so commonplace we don't blink...

I don't want one more child to have to feel they aren't "normal" because they are gay...

and that little girls who know that they want to marry another girl can dream of a wedding and all that it entails...

and that young men who are gay can know that one day they won't be "different" just because they took another young man to the prom...

I only want them to worry about acne and homework and college applications and telling dad they hit the curb with their car and not to have to worry about being judged for being gay or that some day someone might tell them that because they can get married our country needs God's mercy...

To me God showed his mercy today...

He is going to let an issue become a non-issue...

and that is mercy...

that is compassion...

that is fairness....

that is love...

Go ahead and judge me for this...

and if you think my thinking is just a little "too funky" for you then so be it...

Because what is "too funky" to me is living in a world where love is "all we need" and yet so many people get ugly about it...

ok I am going to get off my soapbox now...

I'm tired and I have had to miss the last 2 days of working out so I need to go to bed and dream of weddings with lots of glitter and two really good looking brides or  grooms that will let me be the flower girl...and will let me bring a unicorn piñata full of skittles to the rehearsal dinner...

Inspiration Song...my most "infamous" blog about a soapbox issue was "Freedom 90".  I wrote it exactly 4 years and 2 days ago...so I had to go with George Michael again...because today a dream came true and there is nothing too funky about it...

and for extra fun I will give you the video...because you can never have too much George Michael and supermodels and Thierry Mugler couture...Theirry makes my perfume so I'm obsessed with him too...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ2DVwSVIIo

Bye Darlings...for those of you who celebrated today's victory I salute you...for those of you who kept quiet and let us celebrate I send my love for your compassion...for those of you who are on the fence about this I ask that you open your heart...














Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sea Legs

Helllllooooo Darlings!

I am so sorry that it has been 2 months since I blogged...

I got a little busy with...life...

nothing special just life...and I didn't feel all that creative after I finally put my Pippin costumes to bed after our performance at the Tommy Tune Awards

(The Tommy Tune Awards, named for our hometown hero Tommy Tune, are the local high school theater awards...they give awards for shows, actors, tech crews...and costumes...which to my continuing surprise even 2 months later ME AND MY TEAM OF GIRLS WON!!!!)

I had dealt with so much creativity and glitter I sorta felt the well ran dry...and I felt the need to really focus on my son...

but today I have been forced to stay at home by on over-hyped-by-the-local-media storm that has yet to do much more than spit some rain on my house...

I did lose a hibiscus blossom...

let's say a little prayer for the blossom...

thank you...I think I can recover...

The worst part of all of this was that because the media warned me (with all day news reports...dang they made me miss The Chew) that flooding rain was going to happen I decided to cancel my workout tonight so I cancelled my bike (our spin studio has us reserve our space in class by booking a bike) and took myself of the yoga list...

of course none of this promised flooding rain has happened...yet...the media continues to warn me that "we need to stay on alert"...

In the past 13 days I have taken 11 spin classes and 9 yoga classes...it was time for a break...but after all the media "spin" (not to be confused with REAL spin) I needed something to take the stress off so I went on to yoga and it was truly just what I needed.  I listened to my body that I needed a day off from the bike but my body was craving breath...and distressing...and some Magic Mike...

Yes...

the horror of it all...

not the storm...

I

HAVE

BECOME

A

YOGA

GIRL

I know...you are all shaking your heads...go ahead...

shake...

This all started in January when sweet AnnaBanana invited me to a yoga event...

I warned her that I didn't like yoga and the two times I had tried it I walked out of class after 20 minutes that I felt was 19 minutes more than I should have given it and that those were 40 minutes of my life I would never get back.

I knew NOTHING about yoga but I went...because I love her...

and as we started flowing I realized I didn't hate it...and that maybe, just maybe it wasn't so bad! And that somewhere in the middle of my downward dog was a place that was meant for yoga...

We can blame a lot of this on Magic Mike...

Magic Mike is an amazing spin instructor but one day he shared with me that he really wanted to train to be a yoga instructor and so I said "if you do it I will come to your classes!".

I knew he would do it...

and I knew I was going to have to go...

and he did it...

so I went...

and...

I TOTALLY LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT

When I found out that Revolution Studios was going to add some "Namaste" to the "clip in rock out" I figured it was something I would do once a month or so...not something that would be a regular activity with me...

but I walked into that amazing and gorgeous yoga room, gently heated by the infrared heaters in the ceiling...and the beautiful windows that added to the gorgeousness of the space and the peace I felt just walking in there and I knew this was no ordinary experience for me.

Mind you I barely knew what downward dog was and I sorta remembered what "Warrior 2" was but
I knew Magic Mike would help me flow through it...

I had heard of some of the poses...I lived in fear we would do something called "crow"...or is it "raven" (wait, I think that is Game of Thrones...ravens are Game of Thrones and right now I hate that show but we will discuss it later...because I need to discuss it)

I sweated so much I was dripping...but it felt good...

and even though I couldn't do all of it, I was proud of myself for just trying...

and before I knew it an hour was up and I was crying with pride for sweet Magic Mike and proud that I survived...and I didn't have to "crow"...

so since I survived I went again...

and again...

Mind you all of this has taken place since the beginning of May...

but one week into it I switched my membership at Rev from just unlimited spin to unlimited YOGA and spin and I haven't looked back...

I have had yoga sweat dates...

I have taken yoga and cried...

I have forced my friends to take yoga with me...

I
AM
A
YOGA
GIRL

Now I haven't reached the state where I have my own mat and towel and a cute little carrier for it that lives in my car, but who knows...

it could happen

and I am not sure what Crow or Raven or blackbird or whatever is but I know my friend SpicySusu can do it...

and I have totally loved every class I have taken...not once have I wondered when the class would end...when I could lay down...when I could be done...

and thank goodness the music is awesome...no Enya at all...that first class with Magic Mike he set the tone for what I would come to expect with the Revolution yoga experience...Just as KuteKim promised there was no "spa" music and Magic Mike gave me---Taylor Swift!

I told myself that I was going to take yoga for what it is...a chance to learn about myself...to stretch myself (literally and figuratively) and to call it what it is...

A PRACTICE

that there is no end game....that I just needed to expand myself and use each class as a PRACTICE so I could remember that I'm learning...

I have small goals:

to stretch one 1/2 inch further every week...

to hold that pose two seconds longer...

to balance just a little longer (I struggle with that one)

to listen to my body...

and in class with GoodGollyMissMolly I have even cried...

a lot...

Right now JayVee is reading this and laughing her ass off...because for YEARS she has tried to get me to do something more than ride that spin bike...she's toldI  me over and over that I can only change if I vary what I do and push myself...

and SHE WAS 100% right...

(she always is)

(about fitness stuff...I get to top her on the cooking...but only that...)

I work some stuff out on the mat...and sometimes I just work my body out...but I always find myself in "Savasana" and as I sink into that final relaxing pose and let go of it all I just empty myself onto the mat...

(oh goodness I do sound like a yoga girl)

My point in all of this is not to get you to do yoga (but hey if you try it I'm proud of you) and not for you to say "Yay Anice!" but to show you that sometimes you have to give something you thought you hated a try...

but not liver...that does not apply to liver...you don't have to try liver again if you hate it...

I never thought I would say I liked yoga...much less loved it...but my instructors have shown me otherwise and now I look forward to each class...to the heat...to the sweat...to the stretch...to the possibilities...

My friend SuperSandra can do the splits...SpicySusu can do a standing split...Magic Mike can hit poses that are breathtaking...CeraBeara and KuteKristina can do things with their young bodies I couldn't do when I was there age...

but it's ok

I'm 50

and I am only limited by what I THINK I can do...

my body will tell me otherwise...

I don't compare myself to others...

I compare myself to the last time I was on the mat...

and that my darlings is why we do whatever we do...

to push ourselves further...

to stand it a little longer...

to try a little harder...

to move one more inch...

IN ALL THAT WE DO

Do something you thought you hated...

Move in a way you did not think was possible...

Try something that scares you...

I will see you on the mat...in Savasana...at peace...and pride...

Inspiration Song: "Sea Legs" by the Shins...because 1) I wobble about on the mat and I often think I don't have sea legs yet for yoga...and 2)I love the Shins...

Bye Darlings...I have missed you and I hope you find some inspiration with this...let me know if you try something new...it's what I do this for!




Monday, April 13, 2015

Miss you Much

Hi Darlings...

Ugh...I hate today...

it is the terrible, no-good, very bad day of the year...

it's the anniversary of the day my mother died...

10 years...

I miss her

Every.Single.Day.

My heart has a hole in it that will never be filled...

sometimes I feel like I am made of glass and will shatter from grief...

Other than my !!kids she was the most important person in the world to me...

she was my best friend...my travel companion...my strength...

Losing her is the single hardest thing I have ever faced...

it almost destroyed me...

I gained a ton of weight...my broken heart had a void to fill and I thought food would do it...

I was wrong...

I woke up today and couldn't move...

and then my friend DowntownJulieBrown called me....I didn't much feel like talking to anyone but for some reason I had a quick thought that she might fix my mood...

and she did...

just like that...

it was a God thing...he had her call and he had me answer...

Thank you God!!

And later she stopped by with roses and they are as beautiful as she is and it filled my heart with love for her...

I've received a lot of love today from all of you who are my friends...believe me it really helps ease the pain...

My stomach was a mess all day but I knew that I HAD to go and ride it out on the spin bike...and so I did...

And Marvelous Mel let me pour my pain out and held my hand and spoke right to my heart...and Kute Kara and Sweet Sandra adjusted their schedules to be there for me...and Sweet Sonia cried right next to me and then did the ultimate thing to make me happy---she immediately called her mom...that girl rocks...

and I had Marvelous Monica there too...just knowing she was riding in the room lifted me...along with my Magic Mike and Kute Kristina who showed me the love when I got to the studio...

and then there is my darling BeautyBritta...she gave me a cupcake...how fantastic is that?  On the bag it said "celebrate"...it was just what I needed...it reminded me of when my mom died and my friend's precious 3 year old daughter told me "why you crying?  your mommy in HEAVEN!" and that made me realize I should celebrate...and today BeautyBritta and that cupcake were a gift from God who reminded me I should celebrate!

and I got to see KuteKim and thank her for opening Revolution and giving us a place we can have as a sanctuary and allow ourselves to open up and not just sweat but cry it out if needed...

Isak Dennison said:
"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea"

For me tonight I got to accomplish the sweat and tears on the spin bike and I can't thank KuteKim and MarvelousMitch enough for their vision to open this place where sweat and tears can inspire or wash away pain...

and I just got a text from DarlingDawn who I haven't talked to in ages and it meant the world to me...

So much love from you amazing people...love I feel I don't deserve but will gladly take...

I am blessed and I love you all...

If I go on much more I will fall apart and frankly I need to deal with glitter tomorrow...so I need to let this day go and remember that I have an incredible angel...

I just wish I could call my mom and tell her all about it...

So I am going to take the easy way out and finish this blog with her eulogy...I think it is a good way for my newer friends to know what an amazing beautiful woman she was...

So here it is:

Today we honor my mother, celebrate her life, mourn her death, and rejoice that she continues to grow in Christ. I gave some thought about what to say, and if I even could say anything---for those of you who know me know that I am seldom unemotional and easily give in to tears. But I will try my best today to do this for my mother because I know she would want me to. And heaven knows, I do love an audience, especially a captive one…and we have full house today…

When I was trying to decide what to say, what message to give, how to best honor her, so many thoughts and ideas came to me. I could speak about her past and give you a boring history of her life…not that her life was boring, but rather just me droning on and on about what she did. We have been to life celebrations like that and about the time that the speaker gets to the high school years of the deceased, we are often nodding off. I also thought about telling you just about what a great daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend she was---but we all know that about her. You couldn’t speak to her without her mentioning her children, grandchildren, or family. Many of you know us and our children by name even if you have never seen our faces because she talked so much about us.

I thought about sending you all a message of peace, love, and our resurrection through Jesus Christ, but I think Father John had that covered and did it much more eloquently and elegantly than I ever could.

So, after some thought and prayer, and talking with my Aunt Jane, and a hope that I will be doing the right thing, I have decided to ask you all to do some things to honor her. I think it is the right thing to do, and I hope you all will do these things in her honor and memory---and it will please her greatly.

Not to steal any thunder from David Letterman, but I would now like to present to you the 10 things you can do to honor Debbie. I will borrow from his style and count backwards down to one, ending with the 2 things she would think are the most important.

Number 10---Cook with butter! My mother was a fabulous cook…she learned from her father who was also a great cook. She rarely produced a dish that wasn’t incredible tasting. She ate a healthy diet and enjoyed good food, but when she cooked, she cooked with butter. Most of our holiday meals centered on her delicious food and she didn’t skimp on the good stuff. So when you do anything in life, and not just when you cook…don’t skimp on the good stuff…make everything you do full fat, whole hog, and ignore the calories.

Number 9--- travel first class and see this world. It’s not always feasible to fly first class, but why not give up some of those frequent flyer points and get to your destination in a little more comfort? My mother always tried to do that…and she was always more comfortable for doing so. She loved to travel. She loved to go and see my brother Beto and his family in Africa----it’s a magnificent country and she loved to be there. She loved New York City---we traveled twice there with Camiel but she made many trips there and she never tired of the city. She took ordinary vacations to ordinary places but she also loved to travel to exotic and fun places like Hawaii, Bermuda, Egypt, and Europe. Even when she visited my sister Katie and her family in Fort Worth she turned it into a vacation. She loved to go places---whether she was traveling with her children or with friends. We took so many fabulous trips together and I know that I will miss having her as my favorite traveling companion. So get out there and see this world…and send my mother a postcard in a prayer.

Number 8---Sleep on a lot of soft pillows. My mother’s bed was a soft, safe haven for my children and my sibling’s children…all the grandchildren have slept in Nona’s great big bed, surrounded by all of her soft pillows. Sometimes our entire family would pile into her bed. My mother had guest rooms but my sister Susan would always sleep in her bed when she came to visit because Mom’s bed was the best. Everyone who was at her house at some point would find themself lounging about on my mother’s bed. My mother made bed-making into an art form. Her pillows were soft and plentiful and her sheets were luxurious. But translating that to real life, what she did was to create comfort around herself. We can all honor her by splurging on the creature comforts in our home and create that safe, soft haven that welcomes us.

Number 7---take more pictures. My mother took more photos than anyone I knew---she also managed to display them all. If you were at the funeral home yesterday you saw just a smidgen of the photos she had. And if you were there yesterday I sincerely hope you saw the marvelous video that my Aunt Gayle put together with some of Mom’s photos. She loved photos of friends and family and usually had her photos to the developer within hours of taking them. Take photos and share them with everyone. There is no greater artwork in this world than the human face.

Number 6---Keep a clean house. I have failed miserably at this…she was such a tidy house keeper and I am nothing but a mess…never dirty, just messy. Her home was ready for “Better Homes and Gardens” to come and photograph it at any moment. When her father died she took on keeping the house to help my grandmother out when she went back to work. I was told a story about her neat-nick ways that makes me laugh. Back in the early 60’s, when my mother and her siblings were young, my Uncle Phil was home relaxing. Suddenly my Uncle Steve ran through the house yelling “Run for your lives!” and raced out of the house. My Uncle John soon followed suit and jumped out the window. The next thing that Phil saw was my mother making a mad dash through the house and she forced Phil, along with Jane, Gayle and the others, out of the house. When my grandmother came home she found 5 of her 6 children waiting on the front porch, locked out of the house. It seems that my mother had done her cleaning and they weren’t allowed back in---no matter what. Her housekeeping skills continued on to her adult life. She had a maid that had absolutely nothing to do. She threw out her clutter and kept things so organized. Her closet is a work of art. She never had to worry that her house wasn’t tidy enough for anyone to drop on by. Speaking of which, that brings up:

Number 5----Throw more parties! My mother was the hostess with the mostest. Martha Stewart had nothing on her. She gave great parties. She was the social director for whatever community she lived in. When I was young I can remember sitting with my sisters and brother and watching all of my Mom and Dad’s friends come in to the parties they gave. They had fabulous parties…costume parties, hunting parties, dancing parties, teas, casino parties, bridge parties and benefit parties. They entertained heads of state and heads of the school. We loved to watch her get dressed for a party and always were amazed that she could look so beautiful each and every time. Our home was the gathering place for the web of friends that she had in Kingsville. I remember Sunday afternoons spent with our family friends coming by---the kids stayed in the pool until we were long past the prune stage, the dads would stand around and drink beer until it was time to watch Peyton cook the burgers, and the moms would lay in their chairs sunning themselves while wearing curlers in the hair covered by a silly cap or bandana. Why those women lounged in the sun in hair curlers is beyond me, but I can still see that group of people at my house as if it was yesterday. She could even turn a hairdressing adventure into a party. In the early 70’s I remember her friends showing up, armed with home “frost your hair” kits, Lancer’s Rose wine, and cigarettes for those who smoked. The would seat themselves around my mother’s long vanity area and pull each other’s hair through the frosting caps…all the while yakking and drinking wine. As the evening wore on my sister Noel and I became hot commodities because we could pull the hair through the caps for them when they got a little too tipsy to do it right. They would emerge a few hours later, full of wine, full of fun, with head’s full of frosted hair---they all looked a little like Bea Arthur in her “Maude” days…and my mother was their queen. Those were some of the greatest times of my life, and I think my siblings will agree. Most of the best times were never a planned thing…it was just that everyone knew that our family and my mother would welcome everyone and no one had to put much thought to it. Have a party---we are, because she would want us to!

Number 4----Support education. It was so important to my mother that we got an education. I know the day my sister Sarita graduated was one of the proudest days of her life. My graduation from A&M was a triumph for both of us because she never went to college. Her siblings went to various universities and she was proud of their accomplishments. She tried to give us the best education possible. While in Kingsville she sent us to an amazing Episcopal school. When the time came to educate my own children I feel so blessed that I too found an amazing Episcopal school for my children. I use what she did for us as a blueprint for how to raise my own children and I was pleased that I can give such a wonderful educational gift to them. My mother loved going to St. Francis and seeing her grandchildren perform, or attending grandparent day, or even just picking them up in the carpool line. She so believed in the school that she participated in the school’s capital campaign and regularly gave to the Annual Giving program. But her dedication to good education didn’t stop with her grandchildren’s school----she gave scholarships to A&M, helped build on to our school when we were children, and she helped out with various projects at Texas A&I when she lived in Kingsville. So give to the school of your choice and support it well, she would really like that.

Number 3--- Drink more water and exercise more. Was there ever a time that we didn’t see her drinking water? She never ordered anything in a restaurant but water. She was a connoisseur of water and she drank it by the gallon. She always had a bottle of water and kept several pitchers of it in her fridge. It’s good for you and won’t interrupt your sleep…so toast her with your next glass and drink it more often. And get out there and work out! My mother loved to exercise…she was in amazing shape and she worked hard at it. She loved to walk with her friends in the morning and she also loved going to the Houstonian to work out. She enjoyed trying all kinds of classes but usually stuck to her walks with friends when the weather was nice. I know that she managed to get many of you out of the house to walk with her and I only wish she had made me do so more often with her---then I might fit into more of her gorgeous clothes! Take care of your health---she would want you to.

Number 2---Go to church. My mother loved coming to St. Michael’s. She loved this church and she loved the Catholic Church. She often walked to mass from her house so that she could exercise both her body and her spirit. She loved her faith and she clung to it. She loved Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and God. She prayed for all of us…so let us all remember her in our prayers and thank God for her life because He did such good work when he created her.

Number 1---love your family, spoil your children, but ridiculously spoil your grandchildren. My mother was the most beautiful and wonderful mother a person could have. She did the best she could after the divorce and I think we all turned out pretty well. But where she really shined was in the “grandmother department’. Nona, as the grandkids call her, was the best grandmother a child could have. She spoiled them rotten and loved them with the fiercest of loves. She taught them so many things and she could spend hours listing their virtues to anyone who would listen. She was devoted to her mother and she loved her brothers and sisters so very much. She was the oldest child and was their second mother since some of them are much younger than she was. Her family, children, siblings, and mother and grandchildren were the light in her life…and she was such a strong light in ours. We will all be a little dimmer without her to shine on.

In closing I want to finish with a story of how all of this got put into perspective for me. Over the last few days I have been told so many things and been given much sympathy and advice. But the true meaning of how I, and those of us who loved her, are to carry on were best expressed by Connally Dull. Connally is the sweet 3 year old daughter of my good friends Christy and John Dull. I left the Dulls, Connally, and her 2 sisters at my house to go and sign the papers to release my mother’s body to the funeral home. The Dulls said they would stay to answer the phone and the door while George and I were gone. When I stepped back into the house I began to cry once again. Connally looked up at me with her beautiful big eyes and opened her sweet mouth and said “Why you crying? Your mommy in HEAVEN!” I couldn’t have said it better myself…Sometimes it takes a child to put things in perspective.

I love you all…


Inspiration Song: "Miss you Much" by Janet Jackson....because I miss her so very very much...

Bye Darlings....if you have a mom who is still with you please show me some love by calling her and telling her you love her...I would give anything and I mean anything to be able to call mine...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Edge of Seventeen

Hello Darlings...

In a few days (more or less depending on when you read this blog) The Cutest Boy in the World (TCBITW) is going to turn 17

which is completely impossible because I literally just birthed him 5 minutes ago

But here we are discussing college and prom...he's taking SAT's and AP courses...he drives himself to school (and everywhere) and even drove himself 5 1/2 hours to be a camp counselor at his camp...

He came out of me hungry and smiling...and has been so ever since...

he has beautiful blue eyes and one perfect dimple on his left cheek...

he is the most beautiful human I have ever seen---along with his equally beautiful sister...

he was an easy baby...

sorta...

bless his heart for all his perfection he had terrible ears...or rather Eustachian tubes...

poor baby got an ear infection every month until he got tubes put in at 11 months...

he was miserable with it and his father wasn't sure he entirely liked him that first year...he screamed his head off in the car (we later figured out that something about how the "bucket" seat of the little basket carseat sat him at an angle that made the fluid in his ears hurt him all the more...we changed car seats and it changed our lives).

One day I left my (now ex-) hubby in charge of the two kids so I could go to a meeting.  I found out later that my daughter is a tattletale and my ex could have brain farts of stupidity...

He was giving the kids a bath and my son had a tub that was large and would sit inside our large corner tub....if you filled both tubs just right both kids could have a bath at the same time.  Kesha Barbie was almost 5 at that time and TCBITW was about 3-4 months old.

The phone rang and Dad went to answer it...

the phone was in the other room...

It was my mother calling to check how Dad was doing with his first real time alone with the kids (seriously at that point I had only left him in charge for an hour or so and this was more like 4).

he chats with her a while (on the cordless phone and he had returned to the bathroom) and Kesha Barbie casually says:

"Daddy, TCBITW is under water"

apparently he told her to quiet down so he could hear "Nona" (my mom)

and then he realized what had been said...

and he walks over to the tub and sees that my son has slid under the water and is completely submerged and looking up at him with his big blue eyes open

no telling how long it had been but I have been assured it could not have been more than 10 seconds...

10 SECONDS!!!!

he drops the phone
my mom starts screaming
Kesha Barbie is laughing and saying "he almost drownded!"
and thankfully my son was breathing

And then the bad parenting mafia agreed "not to tell" me and told Kesha Barbie that "mommy doesn't need to know anything about this"...

I was home all of 30 seconds before Kesha Barbie spilled the beans...much to Dad's chagrin as he had tried to get her to bed early in hopes she wouldn't tell me:

"TCBITW almost drownded"

He's a good dad but it was a while before I left him alone with the kids again and every once in a while I play the "well at least I never almost let you drownded" card with him

(and yes, drownded was what she said and it stuck)

The fact that I am now facing that he will head to college in less than 18 months is making me want to drownded myself...

Lucky for me he wants to go to my alma mater and it is less than 2 hours away and I hope I will see him a lot more than I see his sister who is a 4.5 hour plane ride away...

One day I told him;
"you know---you will be so close that maybe on Sundays I will drive up and we can go to brunch"

he sighed loudly, rolled his eyes, said "oh MOM!" and headed to his bedroom

I was totally messing with him

but 5 minutes later he emerged from his bedroom and said:

"would coming for brunch include you maybe cooking things or bringing food to stock my fridge and maybe helping with laundry?  If so then fine..."

I stared at him in disbelief

and I am still not sure to this day if he knew I was messing with him so he was messing back

and hell to the yeah I am going up there sometime during his first few weeks of school and taking him to brunch

and I will stock the hell out of that fridge and I will TAKE HIS LAUNDRY WITH ME SO I HAVE AN EXCUSE TO GO BACK THE NEXT WEEK

(and all of you out there that are shaking your heads and thinking "she is truly out of her mind" can just shake your heads because I am out of my mind and I will do it...)

I am trying to prep him now...

we are learning about laundry (he got a head start on that at camp because counselors do the laundry)

I am teaching him to cook...on the list are:
eggs (fried and scrambled)
steak
burgers
baked potato
bacon
quesadillas
tacos
beans
white chili
reubens
various sandwiches

I have been seasoning and using a cast iron skillet to give him and I plan to send him with a griddle/Panini maker that he can use for making quesadillas and tortillas and sandwiches...he plans to live with his best friend and hopefully between the two of them and the dining hall they will be fine...

according to my son if you put enough sriracha or Cholula on stuff it makes anything edible...so I do believe he will survive

I had to get used to him being a big dog varsity football player this year...next year I am going into training when he does so I can survive all the parties and tailgates before and after the games and practice my calm varsity mom face when he gets hit.  I did pretty damn good when his leg got broken and everyone around me was looking at me as I walked down the longest stadium steps in the world---the fact I had recently had botox helped my "resting bitch face" look like the epitome of calm and collectedness and serenity...because inside I was screaming and wanted to launch myself over the wall and onto the field and hold my baby

Apparently the botox has worn off because the resting bitch face has returned to bitch face and is no longer serene looking...he can read me like a book again...

time to call the amazing Dr. Baldwin and get that fixed so I can maintain my look of calm when he tells me things like "I don't really want to go to prom"...

I swear he wants to deprive me the pleasure of gushing over how amazing he looks in a tux and taking a bunch of photos of him and his date and continually saying how cute they are and to make good choices...

He's not a big socializer...he has friends at school but really mostly just spends time with his "gang" that is comprised of 6 boys who have all been close friends since middle school and now all go to different high schools

he is a nerd...and I am proud of that...

His college counselor is new this year and when they had their first meeting she looks across the desk at this football player with a shaved head (thank you senior football players) and a broken leg (thank you idiot sophomore who should not have been playing varsity that hit him) and she opens his file and looks at him and says:

"Who are you!?!?"

his answer "I am a linebacker/wrestler that happens to love science and math"

he's always had duality...

he is a nerd and a jock
he is tough but he still cries
he's an independent young man that still kisses me goodnight every night
he plays these wild video games and yet is the sweetest boy I know

he calls me when he is heading home (before he leaves school)...
he takes great care of me when I am sick (like fetching things for me or going to the store)
he doesn't complain if I ask him to run errands or take care of things around the house
he cares about his studies and is proud he takes honors and AP classes

He got disappointed in himself when he didn't do well this wrestling season.

He only got to wrestle for 3 weeks and then the season ended...it hurt him so much to lose this season with the broken leg because last year he lost his whole season with a pulled/strained elbow ligament.  He loves to wrestle and he loves his team...and he is very very good at it...

and when I saw the disappointment on his face when he lost one of his last matches and saw how he was fighting tears I saw a little boy and all I wanted to do was hold him tight and kiss on him and rock him in my arms like I did when he was 3 (but instead I was a good varsity wrestling mom and I just hugged him and told him I loved him)...and when he lost his last match of the season to his friend and yet no tears happened and he smiled and hugged his friend I saw a man...

and I saw a great man when I saw him go to stand at the mat and cheer on his friend in the finals and he did it without me telling him to do so...

I can't stop him from growing up

I can only help him to become a good man and all help him develop all the potential he has

I don't have to dress him anymore...although there are some days I really want to when I see how he has costumed himself and he thinks it works...

I thankfully no longer have to change a diaper or bathe him anymore (although when he had a broken leg we did have to work as a team to keep that cast dry)

I no longer have to feed him with a fork or cut his meat...I just throw a Fred Flintstone sized piece of meat at him and I get a growl of approval...

I don't get to kiss the boo-boos but I still get to hold him when he is hurt (when no one is really looking) and he will still hug me in public...

and he makes a great designated driver when we go out to dinner so I can have a second glass of wine and not worry...

I'm not ready for him to be so grown up and yet I am so very proud of the grownup he is becoming

and I can't wait to see what 17 brings and what comes with 18...

When I was 17 I was in college...I was forced to grow up quickly because when my parents divorced I had to do a lot of caretaking of my siblings because my mom was too busy trying to find the next man to love and my stepmonster really didn't want much to do with us...I went to college knowing how to cook 3 course meals from start to finish without a recipe and how to do laundry and make beds and fold clothes and sheets (not that I ever did fold sheets at school and laundry got done when I ran out of underwear).  I went to college to get away from my family and to finally have the chance to try and be myself and not have my parents telling me how perfect I needed to be...

My son will spend his year of being 17 being a junior and senior in high school...playing football... being the captain of the wrestling team and wrestling...hanging out with his buddies...taking AP courses and being the nerd of the football team who also happens to hit more people than anyone...he will be a camp counselor this summer and will play 7 on 7 football in the horrid Texas heat in July...he will learn to do laundry but I won't teach him how to fold a fitted sheet because I know he never will...

he's The Cutest Boy in the World...I love him and his sister more than I thought it was possible to love another human...that love is so fulfilling and encompassing that I don't just FEEL blessed I KNOW I am blessed...I wake up every day amazed at how incredibly lucky I am to be the mom to these two amazing humans...

I miss having a little boy who sits in my lap and gives me kisses...I miss the baby that always threw his arm over my shoulder...I miss the toddler who hated sleeves on shirts and never wore shoes...I miss the little boy who would pull out his own teeth and once got his neck skin stuck in a zipper (thankfully it was his neck and not down below)...I miss the little boy who mispronounced words in the most charming way (Darling Dana I can hear you laughing right now at how he would say your name) and I really miss the sweet baby I nursed at my breast who would look up at me with those beautiful blue eyes and I knew just what being lost in love truly meant...

I can't imagine how I will find the strength to walk back to my car and drive home after I settle him in his dorm at school...the other day I was telling my sweet friend Jen the Awesome how I was already having a hard time thinking about it and I started to cry (and thankfully she knows I am crazy and loves me despite it and gently patted my arm and smiled that beautiful smile of hers that was comfort...I know she will be among the many I will need to keep me happy and busy when he goes)...if I am crying now I don't know how bad I will be when the time really comes

Of course God does have a way of making you just a tiny bit sick of them before they go (I learned this with Kesha Barbie) but he's my youngest and being divorced and without a spouse when he goes it is just me and the cats...

I have sweet friends who have lost children...I can't imagine how horrific that pain is...it's a place that I can't relate to because unless you have lost a child you can't know what a terrible place that is...and when I think of letting him go I think of my sweet friends and realize that sending my boy to college is a step they won't get to take with their precious child and if they can find the strength to get out of bed each day I can certainly send my son down the highway to college...I gather strength when I think of you SP and SK and I love you and not a day goes by that I don't think of your loss...

I am going to enjoy this next 18 months...it will be a roller coaster and I will have many highs and I am sure there will be some lows but I am most grateful that God blessed me with this amazing son of mine (and my beautiful daughter) and I will do everything I can to launch him into this world of being an adult...

I didn't really want a boy...I wanted to have another girl...

I didn't like "boys" sports and boy clothes are not nearly as fun as girl stuff...I'm a girl who loves tutus and glitter not football jerseys and camo...

I wasn't sure how I would handle all the boy stuff and farts and peeing in bushes and fart noises and everything is a gun and the way little boys take everything apart just to see all the parts...

but I did just fine

except for the farts part...I'm still not good with that...

I ate dinner with a boy who turned food into a helicopter and a fork was a gun...

I quit caring that the shirt and shorts didn't match perfectly and was sort of glad not to have to find a matching bow

I love watching my son wrestle and I can tolerate the football and I miss lacrosse...

I've learned to breathe through my mouth when me son walks in from football and smells like horse manure (I have smelled a lot of horse manure so it's ok) and I have learned to pick up his nasty wet practice clothes and not die (because my own clothes after spin class are just as nasty)...

His room smells like a combination of a locker room and Kool aid...it's hot because of the tv and computer being on and all the drawers are wide open and nothing is put perfectly away...I really don't care...

He's my boy...and I am the luckiest mom in the world because TCBITW calls me "Mom"...

Inspiration Song: "Edge of Seventeen" by my rock goddess Stevie Nicks...come on now how could I not?  I thought about "At 17" by Janis Ian but that song is super depressing...and yeah this is about an older woman and a younger man but at least it doesn't make you want to cry...

Bye darlings...sons are a wonder...so are daughters...and raising kids is a privilege...now go and tell them you love them...







Monday, March 2, 2015

Big Yellow Taxi

Hello Darlings...

Oh I know you are just itching to know why the hell I would post "Big Yellow Taxi" as a blog title...

are you thinking I ran off to New York?

Stay with me here...don't scroll to the bottom to see why "Big Yellow Taxi" is the name of this blog...just roll with me...

I have been sick for the past 2 weeks...it started off as a little sinus infection and blew up into a nasty respiratory infection...like I could totally relate to the Mucinex commercials...

it was vile...

It took a major antibiotic and a narcotic cough syrup to get me through it...and a lot of broth and tea and Mucinex and time in bed...

it was like the flu without fever...

and I sounded like a 90 year old ex-smoker with emphysema...

nasty stuff...

I whined and moaned about it endlessly on Facebook...

(yes that does help you feel better when you whine and moan on FB)

GOTT called me in for a meeting and I think he regretted it 2 minutes in to it when my coughs were literally shaking the curtains in the black box theater...he kept saying "you sound awful"...

duh...

in his defense I told him I was doing better...but he wisely kept his distance...

I tried to fight it off but it became apparent that this was going to take drugs...

big powerful strong drugs...

when I saw the doc he told me "go home to bed"...I informed him I was going to drive to Dallas as soon as we were done and he almost jumped off his stool...

once I explained it was The Cutest Boy in the World's (TCBITW) state wrestling championships he "got it" but he still didn't love that I was driving from Houston to Dallas by myself...

so I went and filled my prescriptions and headed to Dallas and literally walked into the gym just in time to see TCBITW on the mat and wrestling.

He fought so hard...

at one point he was winning...

and then he got pinned at the last second...

I saw my son literally crush under the weight of the kid pinning him...the look of disappointment on his face was crushing to me...he went and sat by himself for a while and then he came over and sat in the bleachers with the rest of the team and their families...

"I should have won"

"You COULD have won"

"but I SHOULD have won that match..."

and then I reminded him he had been back to wrestling for less than 3 weeks...he was still recovering from a broken leg...and basically all of last season he was laid up with an elbow injury so he hadn't really been on the mat for almost 2 years.

The other boy had been training since November...he had had many matches...my son had wrestled 3 times since January of 2014 when he had 3 matches and got re-injured on his first time out for the season...

I drove to Dallas NOT to watch him wrestle...

I drove to Dallas to be a mom...

and despite the fact I felt horrible and just wanted to go to bed I knew I was supposed to be there for that conversation and to tell my son that he was the most amazing boy in the world and that it would all come back to him...and that next season they better watch out because TCBITW was going to be a hurricane...

we went back to the hotel...he went with his team and I checked in and ordered room service and watched shark tank and instantly regretted that I was staying at the same hotel at 3 wrestling teams...

but then I remembered they had curfew and sure enough the floor was so quiet I needn't have worried...

wrestlers are good boys...

I showered and drank a glass of wine and took my narcotic cough meds and

wowzers...

I mean...

woah!

That stuff knocked me out...

I am sensitive to any kind of drug and I pretty much passed out...

one glass of wine NEVER does that to me so I knew it was the cough syrup...

(I am, after all, a black belt in wine drinking...)

at 6 AM I was bolted awake by the coach texting me asking me if the boys had breakfast...

8 texts later we got it figured out and I pray to the good Lord above that I made sense because at that point I think I still was "under the influence"

nothing like looking like an idiot in front of your son's coach...especially if you are the team mom...even if it is by text...

So I headed up to watch my kid wrestle a few more boys and was so excited to see him pin his next opponent...

and then...

uh oh...

he had to wrestle his friend Diesel...

(his real name is not Diesel but in middle school that is what we called this sweet boy because he was like a diesel engine...unstoppable...)

The reason Diesel wrestles is because TCBITW talked him into it in 8th grade...

they like each other....they don't hang out...but they do like each other...

they have been friends since they were 4 years old...

So Diesel goes over and tells TCBITW that they are going to wrestle each other...Diesel's mom and I laugh about it...

and then it happens...

it's a fair fight...

they wrestle their hearts out...

and Diesel pins my son...

they hug after...and hug again...

and my son comes over to the bleachers to me and gives me a hug but this time there are no tears in his eyes like the night before...

there is no defeat there...

there is acceptance that he was bested by someone who has been working at this for months and he has been working at this for 3 weeks...

(just as an aside here...my kid is the captain of the team so even though he only hit the mat for 2 tournaments because of his broken leg he went to EVERY meet and watched EVERY match...I am proud of him for sitting through roughly over 100 hours of wrestling while just sitting in a chair)

he knew that Diesel had beaten him because he had worked harder at it...this time there was no "I SHOULD"...he GOT it...

you can't just show up and win...you have to work for it...

I mean yeah sometimes you can just show up and win but the victory is far sweeter if you have put the effort in to it...

Diesel was to wrestle for 3rd place...and just before he was to take the mat again I looked for my son.  I was going to suggest he go and stand at the side of the mat (what you do in wrestling when your team mate or someone important to you is on the mat) and support his friend...

I looked for my son...

he wasn't sitting in the bleachers...

he was walking to the mat to support his friend...

Diesel's own team mates were not there...they were watching another boy...

but my son was...

he was right there where his friend could see him...

and he yelled and cheered and coached him and when it was over and Diesel won...

my son hugged him...

at that moment I was prouder of my boy than I would have been if he had won a medal himself...

I will give up medals for class...

for showing up for your friend...

for putting someone else ahead of yourself...

for being a person who can give up ego in favor of friendship...

it meant the world to Diesel and his parents...and I couldn't stop crying...

when I saw my son I told him I was prouder of him at that moment than I would have been had he been on the podium....he thought it was no big deal because he KNEW it was what he should do...

Can you tell I am still busting proud about this?

to hell with state titles...give me a kid who GETS it!

I hugged Diesel and told him I was proud of him and loved him...he told me it meant everything to him that TCBITW was there for him...

That was awesome...

My son lost a wrestling season...he lost last season too...he loves to wrestle...he loves the sport and being on the mat...he love the victory and he accepts his defeats...

But when you lose a season and come back and the gold medal is in your grasp and slips away...

you don't know how much that can hurt...

and how much you miss what could have been...

when it was all over my son got on the bus and headed to In N Out burger and inhaled 2 double double animal style burgers, two orders of fries, a shake and a diet coke...

I had that minus the 2 of everything and no shake...

I headed back alone in my car and had to pull over halfway home to wake myself back up from my food and residual drug coma...

um next time I might listen to the doc...

maybe...

I hit up Bucees for jerky and steaks and made it home fine but tired...TCBITW was about an hour behind and came home full, fed, and not as disappointed as he might have thought he would have been..

and then the "gunk" hit me full force and I was pretty much laid up for the next week...

the worst part was that I couldn't work out....

I was missing my beloved spin classes...

and it was killing me...

but you have to be able to breathe to spin and I pretty much could not draw breath without coughing up a lung...

I had already missed most of the week before and now I missed another full week...

ugh...

every time I called to cancel my bike I cried...

I missed the classes and the sweat....

I missed the way I could lose myself on the bike

I missed just feeling a beat and riding to it and not thinking

but more than that I missed the people...

I missed this great community of people who work at the studio and that come and work out at the studio...

I missed sweaty hugs and high fives after surviving the evil that has been thrust upon us by tiny humans that are truly the nicest people ever until they get in front of you and bark at you to "reach down and turn it up" and make you spin your ass off...

I missed seeing someone who you only knew there in the studio but knew that person was riding beside you and working as hard as you...

I missed the young girls who call me their "mama Anice" who lift me up each day...my KuteKara and my KuteKatie and my AmazingAshley and my BrookieBrooke and CarmenMiranda and BeautifulBritta...oh how I missed those beautiful girls...

I missed my spirit animal Jose...who tells me to never give up...

I missed the incredible instructors not just during class but for the laughs and love after...and the studio team who literally sometimes are the best part of my day...

I missed that beautiful place full of people who not just ride together but have formed friendships and bonds and greet each other with love and enthusiasm at the start or end of a long day...

When you have to be away from something you love it is so very hard...

but tonight I came back...

I totally wanted to die...

I cried because I made it through...and Marvelous Mel played my Miley anthem for me and I rode that bike 6 like I was it's boss...

Coming back is hard...it is hard knowing you are going to want to DIE about song 3 and that you might puke....

it's hard to breathe and not cough up a lung when you have been sick...

but I had to get back on that bike and back to my peeps...

if my son could get back on the mat I after a broken leg I could get back on the bike...

my son missed getting to wrestle...he loves to wrestle and he missed being the one on the mat fighting so hard and working so hard to beat the other boy...

I missed having sweat pour off me as I pushed my body to do what I never ever thought it could do at age 50

I never thought I would be 50 years old and literally cry because I couldn't go to a spin class...

when I was 40 I just figured I would be a sad overweight woman in an unhappy marriage that was content to watch tv and eat whatever she felt like eating because she gave up...

but thankfully that girl went away in favor of a girl who loves to exercise and sweat and eats healthy and is happy...and divorced...

So...have you figured out why this is "Big Yellow Taxi"?

Joni Mitchell is a wise woman...

YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'VE GOT TILL ITS GONE...

For me I missed sweating and working out (but rest assured just because I mentioned my marriage NOT ONCE did I miss that once it was gone...I missed having a human next to me to cuddle but NOT THE HUMAN I WAS MARRIED TO)

My son missed getting to wrestle but found happiness and satisfaction in cheering for a friend who had worked hard all season for it...

We all miss things in our lives...

stop for a moment and appreciate what you have...what you love...what you would miss that might surprise you...

I don't think my son would have told you "I miss being on the mat" if he had not broken his leg...

and I wouldn't have realized how much I would miss the community I ride with and how much I miss sweating (and how much I still miss sweating with JayVee) until I was forced to not get to go...

(thank you nasty respiratory infection)

yes we miss the big things in life...our parents when we go away...our lovers when they go on a business trip...our kids when they go to camp or college...our family and pets when they pass away (ok that is a HUGE one and should not be lumped in here... but you get where I am coming from)

but sometimes it takes us by surprise when the things we miss are not what we expected...

so appreciate all you have...even the little things...even sweat...and boys killing each other on a mat...and DVRs (so much better than VCRs) and food on the table and sunshine and all the little things in life that make it good...

appreciate all you have been given

appreciate...

everything...

Inspiration Song: "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell...a song to remind us all that we need to appreciate things before we lose them...or before we miss them...this song moves me every time and every time I hear it I am reminded to appreciate all that I have...Counting Crows and Amy Grant did awesome versions of the song if you aren't a fan of Joni...listen to it...

Bye Darlings...don't pave paradise to put up a parking lot...and if you don't know what I am talking about here are the words to this awesome song...and if you don't know who Joni Mitchell is...well learn who she is before I pat you on your darling little head...

They paved paradise put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot

Chorus:
Don't it always seem to go,
That you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.
The paved paradise put up a parking lot

They took all the trees, put 'em in a tree museum,
And they charge the people a dollar and a half just to see 'em

Chorus

Hey farmer farmer, put away the DDT now
Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees
Please

Chorus

Late last night, I heard the screen door slam,
And a big yellow taxi took away my old man.

Chorus x 2

The paved paradise put up a parking lot x 2
Ha Ha Ha
Lyrics from eLyrics.net

Friday, February 27, 2015

On My Own

Hello Darlings...

It's been a while...a later blog will explain just what I have been up to...but for today I invite you to celebrate an "anniversary" of sorts with me...

because you see---

4 years ago today I left my husband of 24.5 years...yes, we were just half a year away from that magic silver anniversary and I decided that silver wasn't a color I needed to be celebrating...

I didn't actual "leave" him that day...the truth was I told him to leave...

basically I went into his study and told him I wasn't happy and I knew he surely wasn't happy and that I wanted a divorce...

and that I had wanted it for some time but could not go one day more...

he wasn't happy but accepted it...

the kids weren't happy but accepted it...

I would rather have a good divorce than a bad marriage and I had a bad marriage...

I didn't want my kids to think that what I had with their dad was what a good marriage was...and I didn't want them to think it was what they should settle for...or expect in marriage...

There was no abuse but there was a lot of arguing...

We were two people who no longer took pleasure in each other's company and the only thing we had in common was our two amazing children.

I tried to leave before but The Cutest Boy in the World was so young and I thought I owed it to the man I married and my kids to give therapy a chance and to work on it...

It didn't work

Sometimes you can fix broken things but sometimes you have to accept something is broken and let it go and throw it away...

I didn't throw my marriage away...

I just let it go...

I don't regret marrying him...I got two amazing kids out of it...

But I don't believe I truly loved him the way I should have loved the man I pledged my life to...

My clarifying moment was at GOTT's parent's 50th anniversary party...

My gift to them was to take photos of the event.

I looked through the lens of my camera and I saw GOTTMOM looking at GOTTDAD with so much love in her eyes that it was a gut punch...

it took my breath away...

it made me cry...

because I realized that she was looking at him with so much love even after 50 years and that I had never ever once really felt like that toward the ex...

not once...

I had to go and sit down quietly for a moment...

Then GOTT and his brother and sisters and their spouses all got together for a photo and when I saw the love there I knew I had to do something...

I had been around GOTT and GOTTESS enough to be envious of the love they shared...as well as other friends...like KuteKaren and RoyBoy and CabRene and BoyGeorge and JayVee and The Hunk...

So the next day I told GOTT what I planned to do...that I needed to leave...

and even though at first his thought was "no!" he quickly realized it was what was best for me and my family and he loved me enough to say:

"I will support you"

because that is the kind of man he is...and that is why I love him as much as a woman can love a man who is not her son, husband, or father...I love him more than I love my brothers because he is truly the best male friend I could be gifted with...

he is totally my rock...and I thank God every day for his presence (and GOTTESS's) in my life and for keeping me off the quicksand...

I have never regretted my decision to end my marriage...the only regret I had was that I didn't do it sooner...

I hate that my children have had to divide time but they assure me it's ok and they are happier because we are happier.

We will always be a family...just not a married family...

My ex has a steady girlfriend he cares a lot about...my kids have met her and tell me she is very nice...

I have no idea how serious it is and probably won't know until he puts a ring on someone's finger because although we get along great and we talk almost daily about kid concerns we know almost nothing about each other's personal life...

if I had a personal life...

Like he wasn't going to bother to tell me he was going to leave the country on his vacation

He just told me he would be gone a week...but he didn't think it was important to mention he would be a few time zones away...

and then told me he didn't see how it was my business...

well the very day I asked him if he was leaving the country was the day after a friend of mine lost her precious child in a terrible accident...so I reminded him that maybe, just maybe it might be good for me to know he might be hard to reach in case something happened to TCBITW while he was gone or maybe he would be too wrapped up in romance to care if his son was in a wreck or ill...

he finally understood at that point...

I told him I didn't care if he went to the moon or Spain...I just needed to know that it might be a little more difficult to reach him than it would be if he was in say---Dallas.

I don't care what he does with her and I still don't care where they went but for a smart man he was pretty dumb not realizing that maybe he should have at least mentioned a 5 hour time difference in case of emergency.

It is those sort of things that make me glad I do not have to deal with him anymore except when it comes to the kids...

He's a good dad...

and maybe to someone else he will be a good husband...

but for me it was very much a square peg and a round hole trying to mesh...

I was only 46 at the time and I knew I was far too young to spend the rest of my life miserable and living with someone I was not in love with...someone I felt no passion for...someone who when I came home and saw he was home only made me think "damn he's home" and not "yay! he's home!".

The day he moved out and into his own apartment I came home and opened a bottle of champagne and moved my stuff into his side of the closet...

I drank champagne from my crystal (which was not wedding crystal but actually crystal I bought for myself with money from selling my steer my senior year---yes I am weird like that...I bought crystal when I was 17) and I smiled at the fact that the closet was mine and the house was mine and I was truly on my own...

it didn't scare me

it excited me

and so here I am 4 years later still very happy with that decision, not the least bit sad about it and the only jealousy I feel about him is not toward his girlfriend but just the damn fact he HAS a girlfriend and I am alone...

4 years later I have my own house (all mine! and has been for exactly one year tomorrow) and I share custody of TCBITW with my ex and I have 3 cats and a job a\I love and lovely friends and a wonderful place to work out and a great life...

except for one thing...

I'm sorta tired of being alone...

I mean the cats are super great company on Monday nights when TCBITW is with his dad but it would be nice every once in a while to go to a movie...or have a man take me to dinner...or have someone hold my hand and tell me I look pretty...Dragon is very good at purring in my lap but he doesn't speak human...but his cat language is pretty groovy...

When I asked for a divorce I didn't know what to expect down the road...I just knew that at that moment I had to get out or I was going to turn back into a 300 lb miserable woman.

But here I am 4 years later...very happy but getting a little tired of being alone...

some of it is my fault...I'm pretty picky and I have turned down some offers of getting fixed up (like poor GOTTESS wanted to fix me up with this guy who is about 12 years older and has a mustache like a walrus and I told her that man will never get me out of the house...).  I know what I am attracted to and I am not going to settle for "he's nice but doesn't get the motor running" again...

I don't have to have grand passion but I should at least think the guy is cute enough I want to hold his hand...or at least leave the house with...

and please don't say "but you might find you are attracted to him when you meet him and get to know him...he has a great personality!"

um...no...

I need to at least think the guy is cute or all we will ever be is friends...

I have made that mistake before...I made that mistake for about 25 years...

I don't care about money and what someone does as long as they are honest...

so many men my age don't want "me"...

and by "me" I don't mean the actual "me" but rather who I am as a woman:

50 years old
body ok but not perfect
two kids
a job that requires you to pay attention to my love of musical theater

Men in the age group I am interested in dating want a woman who is 35, built, can still have babies (so they have that option) and make good bank. 

They want a Barbie on their arm who is younger so they feel young and virile and why they hell would they want to put up with pre-menopause when they could have a woman that makes their friends jealous...

I tried match.com for about 5 minutes and once I weeded through the losers who were just looking for sex or were lying about their age by 10-15 years I found that most of the guys I said "yes, I think he could be ok" to were looking for women "30-45" that were "skinny" or "athletic" and "please don't contact me unless you have photos".  The rest of the losers were posting photos that were clearly 10 years old, or they were shirtless in their bathroom mirror (ewwwww) or lots of photos with guys with Harley's or fancy cars and the occasional boat...

ugh

I had several guys want my phone # so we could "hook up" and others that when I told them "no thank you" decided that I needed to be told what I stuck-up bitch I was and how I was not worth their time and didn't deserve them...and that I was lying about my age (I never did) and usually those were the losers who were lying about their age by shaving off 10 years...

okie dokie

I got off match without every having met a single man (at least I hope they are all single...)

I don't regret that decision either...

I know plenty of people have met and married from online dating but for me it just wasn't a fit...

I know that some day there will be a man 45-55 years old who drives a big ass truck and likes red wine and isn't bothered by how I look after spin class who is open to watching high school musicals and is ok with putting up with not seeing his girlfriend for the month of January.  He will know I far prefer lilies to roses, that I would rather cook at home than go out (but will occasionally squire me to places I love like George's Pastaria and Union Kitchen) and will watch Modern Family and Last Man Standing with me.  He will be ok with watching my son play football and wrestle and will think museums are fun and will know to order me a dirty martini if we are out at a place that carries Tito's vodka.  He will wipe my tears when I cry at a Rothko painting or The Color Purple and he will be ok with hanging out with gay people and will in fact love them like I do.  If he has dimples and blue eyes that would pretty much make him perfect.

yeah...that would just about be perfect...

I can live without the truck but the "loving gay people" and understanding that my kids come first are non-negotiables and he needs to understand that I love the kids at my job so much I think they are mine and that my job is very important to me...

but he doesn't have to drive a truck...but damn that sure makes a man sexy in my book...

I would rather sleep alone than next to someone I don't love (although there are nights I don't love my cat Zulu so much when he is smothering me) and raising my kids is the single most important thing I do so maybe it's ok I don't have a distracting man to distract me...

but I am getting a little tired of being on my own...and yes it kinda sucks that my ex is very involved with someone and has a life outside our kids and I don't...because frankly between the two of us I think I might have the edge on being a better catch because I am a damn good cook...and I have better hair...

But then again on my own I got to pick out the house I wanted...
I got to choose how to decorate it...
I get to pick what I have for dinner...
I get the closet to myself...
and the whole bathroom is mine...

but I could make space in the bathroom (as for the closet...well...hmmmm....maybe I need to stay single...my shoes need breathing room)

I just want to wait until a man comes along who makes my heart beat faster...who gives me butterflies...who says "wrestling is fun to watch" (ok I know that is stretching it...)

I want a guy worthy of me rearranging my schedule...but not giving up time with my son...

I'm happy on my own but I'm ready to not be alone...

(BTW this is very much NOT a plea for any of you to set me up!!!! NOOOOOOOO)

I have been doing it on my own for 4 years...I can do it 40 more if the good Lord sees fit to give me that much time...and I will always be glad I had the courage to move on from my bad marriage...

So raise whatever glass you have at your side and toast not to me but to all who have the courage to change their lives...I don't just mean with divorce...I mean with ANYTHING that makes your life better...

Change your life if you are not moving forward...or change direction...but don't stay stuck...

and don't be afraid to do something on your own...because sometimes you have to do something on your own so you can share it with others...

Inspiration Song: "On My Own" by Miley Cyrus.  Yes, you read that right...Miley.  I actually totally love the song and Marvelous Mel plays it in spin class and we get to rocking and moving and it's my anthem.  I may not always love Miley but this is one thing I do love her for...this song!

Bye darlings...I have had 4 years on my own...I celebrate each day on my own...and now I challenge you to be inspired to try something new or make some change in your life that makes it better...do it in celebration of yourself!






Sunday, January 4, 2015

Food, Glorious Food

Hello Darlings!

Today's blog is going to be a little different...today's blog is a cooking lesson...

I thought you might need some relief from my blogging therapy, whining, and yelling at you to find a spin bike and ride...

If you are a follower of mine of Facebook or Instagram you know that I have turned into some sort of a sad cliché of a middle-aged divorced woman:

I post photos of my cats and food I cook

and that's about all I post photos of...except for the occasional sweaty selfie or group shot after a spin class...

But since I post so many cooking photos I get a lot of questions and requests...and since everyone is early into still trying to keep your New Year's Resolutions I thought I could help you out a bit by giving you some cooking tips...

I know everyone is working hard because the spin classes at the studio are booked to "waitlist" status (yay!  I love a full class!) and you can't find parking near any gyms...

so right now people have health and fitness on their minds...and one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy is by cooking things at home so you can control the salt and fat content...I lost all of my weight not with a special diet or surgery but by what I ate and working out...and I found that when I was in control of what went on my plate I had great tasty HEALTHY meals that were low in sodium and fat and high in flavor.

I love to cook so for me that was the best way to do it...

I learned to cook from my mom.  She was a great cook.

Like me she was a cook...not a baker...

She didn't particularly enjoy baking and neither do I...I did as a child but now it is a chore.  I guess it is because of all the measuring and exactness.  I have always considered baking a science and cooking an art...

not that baking can't be artful because it totally is...but that is more about how you decorate and plate it and "foof" it up...

cooking is more forgiving and foolproof...you don't have to measure...you just put stuff in...

so for that reason I have exactly 2 cakes in my arsenal and that is it:
Coca-Cola cake
and
Tres Leches cake

that's it...other than cookies from pre-made dough that is the extent of my baking I do.

And if I bake for you then you know you are LOVED...because I hate doing it...

It's cold outside and these days I crave a lot of soup...

I like soup

It's easy...
It's a meal that is warm and comforting
It freezes well
its easy to make a giant batch of it so you cook once but have many meals
It can be super healthy or super rich and bad but oh so yummy

a good bowl of soup is a thing of beauty...

My mom made soup better than anyone...and her sandwich making was an art form...

I think my mom was the only blonde (ok from a bottle blonde) Catholic woman who made matzoh ball soup as good as any Jewish grandmother...maybe better than most...

I never complained when she said we were having soup for dinner and when I was an adult I often called her and asked her to make me a sandwich and soup for lunch when I was working or if I could come over on a Sunday afternoon and have a bowl of her delicious soup...

The only time I got tired of soup was the 6 weeks I had a broken jaw (long story...no one hit me...it was to fix an open bite) and had to eat nothing but soup...

that was a long 6 weeks and I got very sick of soup...and I made every soup you can imagine...

but it taught me the art of soup making...

then I got married to a man who thinks soup is just something you eat at the Chinese restaurant before you get your General Tso's chicken...

my son feels the same way...

my daughter, on the other hand, loves soup and will eat just about any soup I make except for tomato basil (she doesn't like tomato things...)

the other night I went to KuteKaren's house and 5 college kids happily slurped up mugs of my homemade tomato basil soup and hugged me for making it...and then I kicked their booties playing "Cards Against Humanity"...

So today's lesson is going to be about...

SOUP

(I guess you figured that out by now)

You need some basic equipment...like a stock pot or a dutch oven...it all depends on how much you are making...

This is a photo of my cooktop...it looks like this all the time...I keep those pots and skillets on there all the time because I use them ALL THE TIME




Really if you have a good seasoned cast iron skillet and a heavy cast iron enamel dutch/French oven you are set...I do 98% of my cooking in those pots and pans...the only time I do something different is if I am using a roasting pan for the oven...but on the stove---those are pretty much it...

And you don't need to pay a bajillion bucks for a dutch oven...two of mine are of the fancy French pricey variety but the one in the middle is from the grocery store (HEB) and it works as good or better as the other two and was 1/10th the price. 

Same thing with the cast iron...they are from the grocery store.  I wish I had a 50 year old one handed down over the decades but that isn't the case...so I bought these.  Most cast iron skillet these days come pre-seasoned...When I get one I pour a little oil in it, heat it up, turn off the heat...pour out the oil and then wipe it out leaving a little film of oil on it.  Then I start using it...

and if you don't know about cleaning...well...in a nutshell:

dutch oven---never put in the dishwasher (some people do but I don't), soak to remove stuck on food...if something is super stuck fill it with water and put it on the stove...dump in about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of baking soda...bring to a boil and boil 10 min...pour out and the gunk will easily come off with a sponge...

cast iron---NO SOAP EVER...just wash with hot water...a well seasoned skillet will come clean with just a spray from your faucet sprayer...I use kosher salt if something gets stuck on...after rinsing I dry with a paper towel and I keep mine on the stove with a thin coating (just a sheen) of canola oil to prevent rusting...

I may be making mistakes with my pots but that is what works for me...

They make excellent wedding and graduation gifts...

So now that I have totally bored you about equipment let's get to the cooking...

You can't make a good soup without a good stock.

yes, you can use the stuff in the box...but I SWEAR if you will just try making your own stock you will find it is sooooo much better...

not kidding

it makes that big a difference

What do you need for stock?

a big pot
aromatic veggies (celery, onion, carrot)
garlic
herbs (depends on the stock...and I like fresh ones)
olive oil
bones or  poultry carcass
wine or beer (red wine for beef, white for poultry, and beer if I am making a Mexican soup)
"Better than bouillon" paste or Knorr bouillon cubes (it's a cheat but works)
cheesecloth

I have learned that it is easy to freeze and save bones and carcasses if I am not going to make a stock right away...same with veggie scraps or those last 2 carrots that are about to go "wilty" in the fridge...

If you buy a bone-in steak it is usually cheaper by the pound but you end up paying for the bone...consider that a huge fabulous bonus!  Cook the steak with the bone on and then cut off the bone and throw it in a Ziploc...save for soup!  I do that with my prime rib roast bones too...

and I almost always supplement my beef stock bones with some oxtail bones...they are an inexpensive way to add flavor and the marrow adds that "gelatinous" quality that makes a soup a bit richer...

and for chickens and turkey if you buy a grocery store roasted chicken and use the meat for a casserole, save the bones in the freezer to make a stock...

I have tried making chicken stock from cooking a whole bird but frankly I find I can make as good or better a soup (and not have over boiled meat) if I use a grocery store roasted chicken...I pick the meat off and save it for after I get the stock done...the bones and wings go in the stock pot...

once you have saved up enough bones and veggies (or go to the store and get them) set aside a Saturday or Sunday to babysit your stock and watch some tv while it goes from "a bunch of stuff" to "deliciousness"...

and remember---this is the STOCK not the soup so scraps and "junk" is just fine

All stocks start like this:

roughly chop up some onion, celery and carrots...or get the scraps out of the freezer...

heat some olive oil in your pot until it "shimmers" and then add in the veggies and cook until they are starting to brown...the flavor is in the brown people...

you can also roast your veggies...

add in whole cloves of garlic (you do not need to peel because all of this gets strained out)
peppercorns
bones or carcass

If I am making a beef stock instead of olive oil I save a bit of the fat from steaks when I trim them and freeze it to use to render the fat for the stock...adds a lot of flavor...

Now cover the whole mess with water...cover it until it is well covered...you will keep adding water as you go...

This is when I add herbs...I always toss in some bay leaves and whole stems of thyme...and if I am making stock for Mexican caldo or tortilla soup I forgo the thyme and bay leaves and use cilantro and a few slices of fresh jalapeno

bring to a boil and then turn down to a  gentle simmer...and start watching it...

when the water level becomes reduced a bit I add in some wine....but not too much...it is hard for me to tell you how much to use because I don't know how much you are making but what I usually do is toss in a good "glug"...it will enrich it and you can add more as you go...and again for the Mexican caldo I prefer to use a beer...you don't want it to taste of wine but 1/2 cup of wine in a large stock pot won't make your stock taste of wine but will add to the flavor...and since this is just the stock if you want more of a wine flavor you can add in more wine when you turn the stock into soup

now here is where I "cheat" a bit...I always toss in a few Knorr bouillon cubes or a few tablespoons of "better than bouillon" paste...not too much or it will get salty...and I never salt until I actually make the soup itself....but it will enrich your stock...

(I keep those Knorr cubes on hand...the are great for making rice taste better and adding as a seasoning...just use less salt)

let the whole thing simmer for 6-8 hours adding water as you go...you want a rich stock so don't add too much water but as long as you keep the bones and veggies covered you should be fine.

taste it and see if you have a nice beefy or chicken or turkey or veggie flavor... and you can throw  in an extra tablespoon or so of bouillon paste or wine at this point...

now you strain...

I strain twice...

Once with my regular pasta strainer and then I strain again with the strainer but line it with cheesecloth...that catches all the little bits and gives you a nice fairly clear stock...

there is some fancy stuff you can do with eggs that makes it very clear but I have never bothered with that...

I always put it back in the pot (I clean the pot out while straining) and once cool enough I put it in the fridge over night so the fat will rise and harden and I can pull the fat off...

The next day pour into freezer bags (very handy) or freezer containers and store...and if you have an old ice cube tray laying around making some stock cubes is a good thing for enriching sauces...

that's it...

then it is ready to use for soup...

as for soup, here are some easy soups I like to do:

Beef Veggie Soup with Noodles:

Ingredients:
beef stock
homestyle noodles (or egg noodles but if you can get your hands on a homestyle kind do it!)
carrots
mushrooms
thyme
onion (thin sliced)
garlic
corn
leftover steak or some cubed beef for soup or stew
red wine

Saute the onion in a bit of olive oil until starting to brown...add in mushrooms (slice or whole) and cook until the mushrooms soften.  Add in a good glug or two of red wine and let it start to burn off...thrown in carrot slices (or baby carrots) and a finely chopped garlic clove (or two)...or grate in the garlic with a microplane...saute your meat until it starts to brown...add in your stock and gently simmer for a couple of hours...pull out... thyme and add in egg noodles and cook until noodles are soft. You can add other veggies like frozen corn, etc...whatever you like...and don't forget to taste for salt (you might add it now) and I love some pepper...

To make chicken noodle to the same thing except with chicken...duh...and use white wine...and I definitely use a little celery when making chicken soup...and I add in chicken from a grocery store roasted chicken...

To make a Mexican style soup I saute onion and bell peppers...add in the garlic...maybe a slice or two of jalapeno...I use cilantro instead of thyme...beer instead of wine...add in chicken stock...throw in some cumin to taste...add in chicken meat.  For veggies I usually use corn and squash and carrots...I skip the celery...and you can use beans but I am not much a fan of beans in my soup unless it is a bean soup...fish out the cilantro and jalapeno slices before serving and serve with baked tortilla chips and a little cheese and maybe some crema and a bit of fresh chopped cilantro...

I use beef (and sometimes chicken) stock to make French onion soup...just saute some sweet onions in butter until carmelized...toss in some fresh thyme and about 1/2 cup red wine and let the wine reduce...add in stock...that's it...taste and check for salt and seasoning...you can do the whole bit with the bread crouton and melted cheese on top but I take the easy route and throw a crostini or bruschetta bread on the bottom of the bowl, ladle in the hot soup and throw some shredded gruyere or swiss on top and stir in...

I know that none of this is exact but I am not that kind of cook...I don't measure...

When you make the stock just remember that all of it will get strained so don't stress about how the veggies look or are cut...don't salt it but rather save adding salt for when you make the soup...add ingredients like wine and bouillon a little at a time so that you don't over-do...

I also find that some unexpected things can season up a soup (not the stock but the SOUP) really well:

a dash of soy sauce for an Asian soup...or try Ponzu sauce...
a dash or two of Worcestershire adds a lot of flavor to a beef soup and chicken soup
a dash of balsamic vinegar adds a little extra flavor too...but just a dash...
a couple of dashes of Tabasco add flavor and no heat...

all soups are made even more yummy if you have some tasty things to dress it up...I love making homemade croutons and bruschetta to serve with soup...I bake my own tortilla chips in the oven for texture...fresh cilantro or green onions are always delish...and a little Mexican crema can turn a soup creamy and extra yummy...

For homemade croutons: get some good loaf bread (unsliced)...let it get a little stale and dried out...cube the bread and toss in a skillet or roasting pan with equal parts butter and olive oil (I love to use flavored olive oils for this)...toss to coat and bake in a 350 degree oven until crispy...store in a Ziploc or plastic lidded container...will keep a few weeks...

for the bruschetta I get a loaf of unsliced bread (rosemary sea salt is my favorite)...slice into thin slices and brush with olive oil (flavored olive oil, especially garlic, is nice for this)...bake until crispy...

for flavored olive oils if you don't have an olive oil/vinegar store in your town you can order online...Boston Olive Oil company is my favorite...I always keep garlic, chipotle, and butter flavor on hand...love rosemary flavor and jalapeno flavor and...bacon...oh yeah...

Get creative with your soup making...think about baked potato soup...carrot and ginger soup...butternut squash...

the possibilities are endless...and if you have some good stock on hand it is easy to take what is in your fridge and turn it into a delicious bowl of goodness...

I will leave you with one last soup...this one does not use stock...

Tomato Basil soup:

get a variety of tomatoes, preferably organic...I use a combination of roma, beefsteak, hothouse, and lots of varieties of cherry and grape tomatoes...

rinse the tomatoes and roughly chop the bigger ones...cherry and grape ones can remain whole...

in your pot saute 1/2 of a chopped sweet onion in a bit of olive oil over low heat until it is soft...toss in the tomatoes and cook (stirring often) until they are releasing juices and very soft and "popping" open as you stir.  Turn off the heat and stir in a few tablespoons of butter and a little white pepper and 2 TBS of brown sugar (yes, do it...).  don't salt yet...take a stick blender or blend in batches in a regular blender adding fresh basil to taste...Now add some salt...a little at a time...this should be sweet and rich but not salty.  If you want a cream soup you can add some half and half but I find that no cream is needed...it tastes creamy as it is...and it is super healthy this way...

Ok so I know this isn't my usual blog and many of you who read this are stellar cooks but I wanted to share with you for those of you who don't realize how easy it all is...

If you have questions please leave them in the "comment" section at the bottom here...very likely what you are asking is something someone else may want the answer for...

and let me know if you want a few more recipes or cooking tips...I am happy to give them or I can keep this blog to the therapy/musings it always is...

Inspiration Song: "Food, Glorious Food" from the musical "Oliver!"...

Bye Darlings...make yourself a pot of soup and enjoy how satisfying it can be....tonight I am going to watch Downton Abbey while I enjoy some chicken soup....