Blog Patrol Counter

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ready or Not... it's almost here

Nothing profound or even reasonably wise to say today, this last day of 2013.  I will say nothing takes the zing out of getting home after ten days away like arriving in Nash to find you and 3,000 other residents are without power.  Such was last night for Benji and Andrea but after lighting candles and getting all settled in, on came the lights, "and to all a good night".  OK...enough of Christmas.  It's almost the new year.

In my sleep or just as I was becoming conscious this morning, I saw in my head where that other piece of glass goes, in the refrigerator.  My mind is just like that.  If I give it time and just chill, it will usually tell me where things are that I've lost or give me solutions for things I can't figure out.

It was almost like a snap shot in my head with that glass. You couldn't see where the glass went, once the drawers went back in.  Wellllll, dee duh.  Take the drawers out and look.... and bingo.  Now all is back in place and I'm feeling pretty damn on top of things, let me just tell ya.  In fact, I'm even thinking of doing some yard work so maybe I just need to chill a minute and wait for that idea to pass.

As Sis snores loudly below me in her bed all burrito-ed up in quilts and fluffy white duvet, I'm reminded of all the (non material) gifts I've been given, all the love shared, and an old black hound dog girl who still delights and brings me joy every day. good does it get???

Here's to 2014!                                            

Monday, December 30, 2013

Well, crud

As luck would have it, I'm having a little afternoon snafu--of the refrigerator kind.  In my zest to clean out the refrigerator this morning after Benji and Andrea hit the road, I took a big old piece of glass out of somewhere and now I can't figure out where it goes.  Shuuuuudup.  There was a several hour lag of time from when I started to when I actually finished so hence the confusion.  There were actually two pieces I took out to clean and no, it's not as plain as the nose on my just goes....someplace.....somewhere I have yet to determine, that's all. hell....I don't know.  One was obvious....the other one not so much.

Now my refrigerator gets a lot of action anyway but the holidays pushed that gal to the edge, so it's no wonder I'm trying to help her with her parts.  Getting them clean anyway.  I'll keep monkeying around and see what I come up with or give the job to you know who.  He can usually figure out stuff like that but then, he doesn't do much with the refrig other than stand there with the door open.

I have a big old pot of vegetable soup I just made for dinner.  After all that food over the holidays (and I didn't even go crazy at all this year) I just want a clear soup without any MEAT.  No dairy, no meat.  Nada.  The cookbook I'm using is one of my winter favorites because the gals who wrote it are hilarious.  They have a whole page of ideas of what you can do with old, stale bread (the good stuff--not Wonder Bread) and the very first line says "Put a crouton in anything and it's guaranteed a kid will eat it".  Then they proceed to tell you how to make them and they are a mean little son of a gun to throw on soup, salad, or simply throw straight on your mouth.  Shooowee.  Some things are just worth the carbs.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Buckle up: approaching 2014

Since it's cold and dreary looking outside, I'm taking time this afternoon to think about the last year--the good, bad, and the ugly--as I get ready for 2014.  I always enjoy a brief stroll down memory lane reminding myself of what lessons I learned and what my take-away was from each one.  Then I laugh my a** off over the stuff I angsted over that wasn't worth the time or energy.  One thing I have learned is that if I don't get the lesson, whatever it is, I'm doomed to repeat it and since most of them are not fun and require lots of personal growth (pain), I'd just as soon get them the first time around.  I know you feel me here.  I can just tell.

For 2014, here are a few of the things I plan to concentrate on:

1.  Having fun--no matter what that looks like to anyone else
2.  Playing more with little kids *see #1
3.  Planting more of my pots when it warms up
4.  Making more salads and eating less meat
5.  Eating more vegetables
6.  Reading more books now that the holidays are over
7.  Reading the paper and Internet LESS
8.  Listening to my intuition more
9.  Hibernating if that's what I feel like doing when it's cold
10. Drinking more tea in the afternoon and pretending like I'm in England
11. Making an attitude of gratitude a priority
12. Laughing a whole lot more
13. Taking life and myself a LOT less seriously
14. Spending more time outside in nature             

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Somebody's 4!!

Round two of the chalupa caper is in the slow cooker for a small baby boy to take back to Nash. After nine hours in the car, you just need something to roll up in a tortilla or dump over Fritos, when you get home and unpack.  They don't leave for another day or two but to taste the best, chalupas need time to make friends with all the ingredients and laze around for a bit.  Hence the do ahead.  Also, since I originally cooked half a pig, this was the easy version.  Dump, heat, season, taste, adjust, etc.

Today is Avery's (The Smalls) birthday (big # 4) so her mom invited me to come to her party at KidArt, after lunch.  All of her sweet little friends were sitting at kid sized tables doing art projects, quiet as little mice.  Man....what a difference girl children make.  A quiet birthday party with everyone seated?  Never had seen it before and almost burned my eyeballs off to know it was even possible.  Boys are always leaping, yelling, running, so this was a brave new world for me.  That's Hudson and a friend in the background and even they were quiet.  Holy moly.     
What a relief to have all the Christmas gear down and stowed for another year.  I don't know about you but when I'm over it I'm really over it.  Every year, down it all comes the day after Christmas and I sigh a huge sigh of relief adios. 

Last but not least, on Christmas morning the phone rang and it was Senora Maria calling to wish us Feliz Navidad.  She had her family there with her and wanted us to know she was thinking of us. It was a gift to hear her voice and I assured her we were thinking of them as well.  They are such a cool family and neat people and I miss her, but know her hands are just too full with her son who is ill.  Sometimes that's just how life is. 
Happy Saturday to all and now it's nap time.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

And...we're done

And what a Christmas it was.  Fun, funny, tender, and very sweet.  Imperfect, sad, hopeful, and full of change.  A new year is coming and lots to look forward to and lots to be very glad is over.  In short, time to move on and move forward to a new season and a new world.

Our family went to visit mom this afternoon along with two of my nieces, and their mom.  At first mom was out of it and confused, but the longer we talked with her, back to the partay she came.  Or, at least the performer in her rose to the occasion.  She hadn't seen some of the grand kids in a good while so I'm sure she was confused at first, but she made a comment or two that let us all know she was somewhat on top of things.  Another visitor's family had brought their dachshund with them so we borrowed her for a second, and it was like old times.  Mom went nuts seeing their dog and loving on it, so no wonder she rallied.  Nothing stirs old family memories for my group like a dachshund.  

I am beyond grateful for all that I have and all the people I love and that love me.  I'm also grateful for the ones that don't, for they are my teachers.  Life is all about living and learning, and I don't want to miss a single lesson.

 And that's a wrap, baby.  Done and done. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013


The lull before the storm.  Andrea and Benji are on their way here from Nashville as are loads of other folks heading home for Christmas.  As a result, I have done my usual "blanket prayer" to cover anyone traveling by air, car, boat, 4-wheeler, or anyone brave (crazy) enough to go to a mall.  Heaven protect you.

As I stroll down memory lane this morning, I'm thinking of all those near and dear to me and now departed--specifically Wiggles Felix Francis Harris, man dog extraordinaire.  I'm remembering the Christmas BS (before Sis) when I bought him a regal, royal looking velvet neck doo-dad (think joker collar with the pointy ends) with jingle bells on each pointy end.  He was in the kitchen with all of us when I put it on him, amidst shreiks of laughter.  Each step made him jingle-- and as hard as he tried to get away from himself and the infernal jingling, he simply could not.  Ohhh, the pain....the agony.  The embarrassment.  He liketa died.  And we loved it. ((This will give you the idea but now remember...his was purple velvet.)

Quickly, off it came, but every year, out came the Christmas Torture, to at least don for a moment of hilarity, at a great sports expense.  You have never seen a more relieved dog than when that purple jingle thing went back into the drawer for another year.  I don't know what happened to it but it's g-o-n-e.  (I bet he took it with him to Dog Town when he died, as proof of what he'd endured.  Sort of like extra credit.)

I'm remembering all the years we tied the left over package ribbons on all of our animals and how Muffin (cat) liked to hide out in all the boxes and play.  When we all left the room to go get ready for lunch, Muff could be heard playing Christmas Cat Polo with box lids, wads of tissue paper, or wrapping paper, swatting it all over the hardwoods and enjoying himself to the max.  If you walked by, he was not averse to launching straight out of a box at you, after hunkering down waiting for "prey". A little fresh Christmas catnip and he was off in his own little "cat world".  I still maintain catnip is merely cat weed and boy, did he love it.  He used to roll in it-- as well as eat it.  I guess a stoned cat is a happy cat.

In short, I cannot imagine a Christmas without animals. It just wouldn't be right.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Still Shopping?

Attention last minute shoppers.  I'm getting ready to save your bacon so listen up.  If you want to find the coolest gifts ever, for all ages, and would rather poke your eye out than head for a Mall--any mall--go to Whole Earth Provisions.  I was in there yesterday playing and almost lost my ever lovin' mind.  They have everything from Uggs to toys and loads of gear (literally) in between.  But it was my inner five year old that twerked off.  (No, not like Miley.)

I had heard from a friend that she buys a Christmas toy every year for her family to all PLAY with and scream over.  Yes, they are all grown ups but who cares...we like toys too so off I went to the one in Preston Forest.  I got so overwhelmed I asked one of the sales dudes to tell me which ones were the most fun and most popular.  Suffice it to say I should never be allowed in a toy store.  I wanted to sit down and play with all of the stuff...and did I mention their stuffed animals and hand puppets?  And the science stuff??  I wanted ALL of it.  Welcome to my inner child. 

Let's just say it's a very good thing the train whistles were wrapped in cellophane.  Some people simply cannot control themselves. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

And the cooking begins...

It's a little after 8:30 AM and my house already smells like a Mexican restaurant. I got up early to get my chalupas and beans going and have had to resort to dueling crock pots.  My pork shoulder was pretty big so it's doing it's thing swimming in my new birthday toy, while the beans swim and snorkel around in the other one.  Yes, the theory is to do them together but I would need a cauldron to do that with what I currently have cooking and I'd look like Granny Clampett.  (The flavor just gets better the longer these have a chance to mingle hence the do ahead.) 

We are having a partay on Sunday for both sides of the family's kids, hence the food.  It's a casual come and go, hang out, eat if you want, don't eat if you don't want, don't come if you don't want to, type deal.  Dr. Frostie, my niece, is on call so I hope she gets to come.  Last year she brought one of her dogs, Cash, a long haired dachshund, and he was the total star of the party.  Sis hated him for stealing the limelight but not for too long.  And speaking of Sis, I haven't yet shared with her that she'll be serving time in her dad's bathroom during the party so she won't get stepped on.  Yeah, that's not going to go down well with her but it's just for a little while.  She can come out towards the end and cruise and work the room.

Last year I caught her raised up on her hind legs trying to slurp hummus off the den coffee table with that long frog tongue of hers.  Party manners are just not her thing.  Another reason for bathroom jail.  I don't want to have to police her.

It's Friday, we all made it through the week, so remember to take care of yourself and rest.  "NO" is a complete sentence so practice saying it.  It's easy and you're worth it.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Love Languages: What's Yours?

There are some things I only do once a year like make cinnamon rolls, fudge, biscotti, and special Christmas cookies that are my absolute favorites.  I only do these once a year because that's what makes them special.  Making them, I learn something every year about myself and life.  Here's what I've learned recently.

1.  If  I make biscotti, I will eat it.  I will definitely give some away but I'm gonna eat it.  Period.
2.  Ditto fudge, cinnamon rolls, and cookies.
3.  I am really making these things because I enjoy them and love giving them away in hopes that others will feel the love.
4.  It is FUN. I enjoy every single minute. 
5.  It allows me to be creative and play.  Heavy on the play.
6.  It brings me joy.  It's just one  way for me to give unconditionally.
7.  There is something magical about roll dough.  It is soft and satiny as a baby and smells just as good. 
8.  Cinnamon, sugar, flour, melted butter and the smell of rolls cooking says love like nothing else can.
9.  Cleaning up the above is a pain in the butt but worth every second.
10. Cooking is one of my love languages. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

'Tis the Season

In my annual 'Tis the Season post, I thought I'd  post a list of ideas and suggestions to keep in mind for the next two weeks.  Some folks may get overly marinated in family so here are some of my ideas.

1.  For any family visits/activities, take two cars.  That way if one of you needs to bolt, you can.
2.  BEFORE going to any functions with family, PLAN YOUR ESCAPE, should you need to.
3.  Determine a code word that means "I'm the hell out of here".  Do not tell little kids or they will blab.
4.  Get plenty of rest and quiet.  Take your kids to the park and let them run until they are ragged.
5.  Treat family members as if they were new acquaintances. It helps tremendously when you'd like to murder them.
6.  Don't over share, over drink, over anything.
7.  Mind your manners even if you are related.  Being kind doesn't mean be a doormat.  It just means be nice.
8.  Laugh a lot.  And then laugh some more.
9.  Nobody likes a martyr so go when you've hit your limit.  You're not gonna get a medal so just GO.
10. Get outside in nature and take a walk, go to White Rock Lake, walk your dog (borrow one if necessary), or call a trusted friend and share family stories.  *See # 8.
11.  Remember Christmas is just one day and it happens every year.  Limit your expectations or better still, don't have any. 
12.  And finally, it could always be worse.  Your last name could be Kardashian.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


It doesn't happen every year but it's for sure happening this year...I've got a TERRIBLE case of the I wants.  Usually, there's just not that much I care much about, so when I do find things I like, I tend to go berserk. I'm a  feast or famine shopper.  I don't unleash the beast often but when there are things that I really like, I let myself have them.  And things I really like, I want a bunch of, in all different colors.  And I want to play with 'um.

Yesterday my neighbor and I went to the wholesale Nursery.  It was like being turned loose in a candy store.  Colors, all different textures, plants of all different shapes, sizes, species....omg....brain flood.  Suddenly, I was so overwhelmed I had to just stand there and drink it all in.  I started in the poinsettias.  I had taken a container I planned to use and while it looked fine, it was just too blah.  Next, I hit the cyclamen for my planters outside.  I filled up one box and proceeded to fill another one.  As my neighbor went about her shopping, we both admitted how easily we go into paralysis from beauty overload-- and she does this for a living.   

Then on to the orchids and succulents.  Lawd, lawd lawd.... please just let me just die here.  We. had. a. ball.  No sooner did I get home and get unloaded than I had to play with my toys.  My neighbor and I texted back and forth pictures: good, bad, or ugly, and then we did the front door hand off for her box of green moss to cover the plant tops in their respective containers. ( I did that part outside today on my table in the back yard so I wouldn't have a messy clean up.  Man, is that moss messssssy...but FUN.)   

I think allowing myself to make things beautiful is excellent self care.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dinner? Why not.

I've said it before and I'm saying it again. Pope Francis is the type of spiritual leader for this world  I've personally needed to see for a l-o-n-g time.  He is so on message, such a REAL role model, that I can't wait for Christmas Eve to watch him on TV from the Vatican.  I don't watch the whole thing--just a little bit-- and it puts the spirit in me every year and gives me the chills.  Even though I am not Catholic, there is just something so familiar and uplifting--spiritually stirring-- that a few minutes is all I need.

I don't think you have to be religious to be spiritual.  To me, they are not one and the same.  Some folks may not agree with me on that, and that's totally OK.  That's what makes this big old world interesting.  We each get to believe and practice exactly what feels right to us, and Pope Francis just does it for me.  The whole Catholic message isn't for me but that's not the point.  I can connect with him regardless of my beliefs because he's so open. 

While I'm betting he's no pushover, I'm thinking he'd be a really cool best friend.  I don't see him as being judgmental, critical, or arrogant.  I see him as being an incredible listener, someone whose wisdom is from a life of real "doing" vs talking about doing, and I understand he's a man with a wicked sense of humor.  

Can you imagine getting to call his cell and just talk with him?  Hey...that's what best friends do, so since he'd be my BFF, I'd get to-- and I could ask him how he sees things, what he daydreams about, if he misses his old life as a Cardinal.  I'd love to know who his best friend is (besides God), and what his favorite book is and, no, the Bible doesn't count.  Does he read magazines?  Which ones?  What does he do for fun?  What brings him the most joy?

If I could choose the person of 2013 who I'd most like to have dinner with, hands down it's him.  Who's your pick?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


From year to year, there are lots of things I forget but I'd forgotten for a second how seriously snoopy my kids get at this time of year.  Since one lives out of town, he's off the hook currently--until he hits town--and then he's just as guilty.  As Christmas gets closer, they start scoping out presents.  Whose is whose, what it sounds like when shaken, such that I used to try to address their gifts to other people to throw them off.  I'm brain just can't handle that much chaos anymore without a computer printout, and that brings me nicely to online snooping.

Oh, yeah, baby.....they do that, too.  They'll take a stroll through your recent emails to see if the sender might be from someone or for something you've ordered that was on their list.  They think I don't know this but I do.  My best hiding places for wrapped or unwrapped gifts have all been plundered since they were teens....having any surprises takes lots of effort and ingenuity and this year, I'm fresh out of both.  We used to hide the wrapped gifts in the top of my closet until the boys not only found them, they thoroughly investigated (unwrapped) several.  I've been known to hide some at Mary's so I'm no novice.  With two of them on the hunt, I'm just outnumbered here.

I still have a few tricks up my sleeve, though, and one I just wrapped for Brian has been thoroughly booby trapped.  If he does anything other than just gaze at it, I'm gonna know.  I'm not telling how.... if I do he'll read it here and figure out a way in.  He also just called wanting to talk to "Ms. Claus" and find out how much cash he had to shop with, and what on his list it was to cover.  Puuuulease....if I answer that, dude, you know exactly what I've already gotten you!!  Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Wow.  Sometimes I realize I don't know which path to take.  Last night was a perfect example.  The holiday dinner on mom's unit.  The few from her unit who attended with family, were all light years more capable than mom.  They had dolled mom all up--make up, fluffed her hair, and some of her new clothes--but what I keep remembering is how cold she was in the dining room, (we got her a blanket) and how after awhile, she simply shut down.  Plus, the "fluffers" didn't know mom before she came to the unit, so how they dolled her up didn't look a thing like her.  They couldn't possibly have known that and I do not blame them.  It was just another layer of added weirdness.  Dinner with someone who is your mother, but looks nothing like her.

At first she tried to enjoy herself, tried to talk, then came the yawns, and by the time the salad course came, it was time for her jammies.  We fed her beef tenderloin, scalloped potatoes, and vegetables, warm jalapeno cheese bread, and she drank her favorite Cranberry juice and water.  My brother told her the cranberry juice was wine and then she choked, laughing.  The flambeed baked Alaska was a bite or two and then zip.  Lock jaw.  Time to roll her back home.

I was surprised to see how many from her unit were not attending.  I'm sure with some families living out of town, ice on the roads, and the expense, lots of people decided not to attend this year and that's what I'm thinking for next year, assuming she's still alive.  I really hope I don't have to make that choice but I will if I have to.

I just am not sure which path to take-- and luckily, it's not for another year so no decision is required today.   I may not have to make one anyway.   
And speaking of all things weird, I walked into Nordstrom's yesterday only to find most of their power was off.  Minimal lighting (wish I'd brought Benji's head lamp from camp) but people were still shopping and carrying on as usual.  You could put purchases on a credit card with their little hand held scanner phones and that's what I did, and it emails you your receipt.  Don'tcha just love progress?  I sure do!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


As I sip my coffee this morning, I am thinking about how grateful I am.  I am grateful our power never went off like others experienced during this iceageddon.  I'm grateful to be able to hear the birds out front yakking at each other wondering what the hell just happened in our front yard.  Big branches are still down and we plan to attempt to drag them to the curb later today.  Notice I said attempt.  Some of these are big honkin' limbs and I'm a little leery of getting underneath any branches still attached, but am willing to give it a shot.  (flexes muscles)

I'm grateful for social media and as much as I hate it sometimes, it was a great way to stay in touch and know what was happening with others and how they were faring.  I'm also grateful I was able to get out for awhile yesterday so I didn't have to pull my hair out.  I can only stay cooped up for so long before it gets ugly.

I am grateful for laughter and there's been lots of it over the last few days.  Nothing gets your juices flowing better than a good old belly laugh, which brings me to yesterday and my neighbor (Claire's mom).  In short, she thought there was wood or something burning in a front yard down the block, so she called 911.  I saw the fire truck stop at the end of the block and went outside to ask what was going on.  The firemen (OOO, la la) asked me if I was the one who called or if I knew of a problem.  I stalled as l-o-n-g as I could but said no.  Turns out it was a false alarm, my neighbor saw car exhaust, thought it was a fire, and has now been crowned Block Ding-a-ling....but I did get a rare firemen sighting and for that I am really grateful.  I love me some hot firemen.  She and I texted back and forth all afternoon, laughing.  I thanked her for the early Christmas gift and could we please do it again soon.  If I can find a hot firemen 2014 calendar I'm going to give it to her for Christmas.

Tonight is the holiday dinner over on mom's unit entitled An Affair to Remember.  Considering this is an Alzheimer's unit, I find that an especially ironic title.  My brother and I are going, and while it's painful and not exactly fun, I am grateful mom is still here.  Every year I think this is probably the last Christmas she'll be here and here she is still perking.  Just shows you how little I know.

Lastly, I am so grateful for close friends who are like family, that are there or would be, if I needed anything.  They are wise, calm, sensible, and just downright FUN.  Woo hoo.  It's going to be a wonderful day.

Friday, December 6, 2013 hit

After the Utility room mayhem of a couple of days ago, we now have a big fat mess outside.  Holy cow....we are going to have some chain saw work ahead.  Given that we still have power, I am grateful and will proceed on, pretending I am our cleaning lady today.  Sis has a fresh chew bone she is hard at work on in the den, and I'm about to start doin' mah thang.  Cheers and happy Friday Ice Storm.

Hot coffee or hot chocolate to all!!  Stay warm.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wonder what that sound was?

There are all kinds of odd noises coming from underneath the table where I am.  There's the snuffle breathing, the whiffle sniff, and then the assorted yips and biffs and lip puffs, as one old gal squeezes in yet another afternoon nap.  How she can sleep that much and then sleep at night blows me.  I would be up howling at the moon if I did that but she never is.  Every night between 8:30 and 9:00pm, she'll wander to the den to get up into her "sleeping throne" and get snuggled in for the night. 

OMG....I just heard the most hellatious prolonged crashing sound... and now there's water running somewhere....  I mentioned yesterday to Bruce that our shelves (of my cookbooks and other stuff) in the Utility room were sagging, so I ran towards the water running the door of our Utility room.  What shelves?  We don't have any.  Not anymore.  I had to crawl across the counter top to turn off the water that flipped on, when everything came down.  It even flipped the trash can lid open.  Oh, damn it. 

and this

I think I'll just watch the news rather than clean it all up.  Seeing Bruce's face will be loads more fun.  :)))

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dog Spanx?

Poor Sis.  I just invited her to go on a walk with me and she was all for it that is until I put her pink harness on backwards and she looked like she was wearing dog Spanx.  The little chest belt clippie was too tight and the neck part bulged,.  She looked at me like it like "why can you not get this thing on right......Daddy can".  Oh, gimme a break, Sis. 

I finally got it on correctly, off we went, and less than a quarter of the way down the next block, she bailed.  That's the deal with her now.  One screw up, she gets in a mood, and she's done.  Me?  I brought her back home, took it off and will head back out shortly, ALONE, to enjoy this gorgeous day.  Forget you, Sis.

Now in other news, I went to check in on mom and made a supply run for toothpaste, perfume, and body creme.  I changed her perfume since it is winter, and the one she had been wearing was more a summer smell.  Hey....she may be in a nursing facility but you need to roll with the seasons or life gets too dull.  For the foreseeable future she'll be rockin' Chanel Allure, for her winter scent.  It's an old favorite and one I could find without having to go to NorthPark.  God forbid. 

She told her Hospice lady I was her "baby" no less than three times, as I stood there laughing, so she still knows who I am.  She was just back from getting her hair done and it looked lovely, and will, till after her nap.  By then, it will be all bent up and bed head will take over.  Such is life.

Headed out now to drop off her supplies and come right back.  Too gorgeous to waste this day inside.