Monday, March 31, 2014

Sanity Sunday!

Sitting here staring at my coffee and wondering if I am brave enough to drink it is not a great way to start a Monday or end a great Sunday.  Steak n Shake is the devil! After almost seven hours out on the bike soaking up the sunshine, I was really not excited about going home and cooking.  I honestly wasn't really hungry and was enjoying simply being mellow and relaxed.  Despite what my girl posted on Facebook, one beer in seven hours is not going to lead to drunk texting. But it does lead to a relaxed, refreshed happy momma.

Hubby definitely knows how to make me smile!  It was a bit chilly as we headed out yesterday, but nothing leather can't handle.  We started off in the direction of Breese, I could so live in that little town, I enjoy it.  I could not enjoy a commute to work from there though, so I will just enjoy it in snippets. Our first destination of the day was Wally's, we were hoping to join a former co-worker of mine that lives out there.

It's Wally's!  Love this place!

Maybe next time.  She just got engaged and was busy talking wedding with her future in-laws.  I am so excited for her, the guy that she is marrying is the perfect guy for her, they are adorable together and he makes her smile so big! Next wedding to put in my calendar.  That is two weddings in about a year, two of the people I find most dear have found their other half!  This makes me so happy.


It didn't stop Hubby and I from enjoying a yummy Wally burger and a Cherry Ski. It's always so fun to go there, it's a trip back in time.  They opened in 1951, I am fairly certain nothing has changed since then. Silly conversation, talking to others gathered around the lunch counter, well it's hard to top that.

I love the way Hubby and I ride, there is rarely a plan or a goal to our rides  Other than to find as many back roads as we can and to simply enjoy the day.  And enjoy it we did.  We don't have music on the Harley, you can't answer a phone or check your email or Facebook.  It ends up being just a wonderful time to talk, look and enjoy life.
Can you see the horse?
On the back of a motorcycle life looks different.  You see things you would miss otherwise.  There is nothing blocking your view and as we travel back roads we tend to putt along at about 35 - 40 miles per hour.  We aren't in a hurry.  There is no rush.

Freshly plowed, ready...
We talked for hours about things.  The only rule we have is no work.  We don't talk about it at all on the Harley, it can't intrude.  If one of us slips, the other sometimes not too gently, changes the conversation.  We allow ourselves to blend into the world around us.  To catch the hawk swooping down for a snack in the freshly plowed fields.  Time to see the small things around us that we might otherwise miss.  Like the sign out in the middle of no where that signifies the street name is Boot Hill, that was awesome!

Old Western fans?
Each time a road comes to it's natural end, we always ask each other the same question, left, right, straight, like I said no rhyme or reason. Illinois does have great motorcycle roads down here in the southern parts, especially when avoiding the main roads.  It's amazing how far you can go and the differing areas that you can end up in never going more that 50 miles from home in any direction.

Spring is sneaking into the picture
As we cruised east of home we visited Breese, Aviston, Albers and other tiny mid-west towns we marveled at the mix of houses that no doubt were built when the city was founded, with the new modern homes.  I am a small town kind of girl, my heart has always been drawn to them and I have often wished to have been born and raised in one.  They are similar to a military community, the only major difference is the depth of the roots.
Out before entering B'ville.
Our journey took us through Belleville, evidently the oldest city we traveled through, they are celebrating 200 years.  I am ambivalent about Belleville, parts of it hold my heart and fascination, other parts simply make me sad.  I have always loved their downtown area and the historic district.  Unfortunately, due to sprawl it has lost its small town beauty.

We did stop briefly at a small bar we go to occasionally while riding.  For no particular reason except it's convenient and at a good location to stretch the legs, use the facilities and grab a quick beverage.  Oh yeah, and they always have a good German beer on tap.  Yesterday they had a live band.  Well, most of the band was live.  The drummer and singer... hmmmm... good thing they aren't giving up their day job.

Imbs Station Road, old station?  I don't know...
Leaving Belleville we headed more westerly past the older parts of town, heading down Highway 3.  Rural farm lands morphed into areas that alternately switched between historic, rural, urban and blighted.  We went through areas that seemed like time and life had given up on them.  And others that were holding on by sheer will.  At one point, I wasn't quick enough to grab the camera, but we saw a bridge that was simply truncated.  At one point in time it had been a road to somewhere, a path that people followed, now it was simply there, an end point to the past.

Like a scene out of "Left Behind"
Cahokia, East St. Louis, Alorton all zipped past.  Some unpleasant feelings and emotions as the sun was setting.  A quick stop at a Walgreens had been a combination of fear invoking and disturbing.  Children as young as my grand daughter acting like a combination of old people and thugs.

Random street corner in East St. Louis, on St Clair Avenue

As we left that section of Cahokia behind and headed down an old industrial area in Sauget, where Hubby had worked in his twenties, the factories and plants oddly silent.  Parking lots were starting to be over run by grasses and weeds, you could tell that even though it was Sunday, they were rarely needed any longer, even during the week.  The only thing thriving in that area now appeared to be bars, clubs and other entertainment facilities.

The St. Louis Arch in the sunset from Cahokia
As we headed home on our journey we traveled up the old Highway 50, it runs parallel to it's replacement Highway 64.  Our home is between the two a few miles away and you have to go up "the hill" to get there. As we headed up the bluffs, up the hill, it is always a bit disconcerting.  Neither of us know why, but there are spots on both roads where the temperature drops to brutal cold, even on the hottest days of the year.  Just little bubbles of space, you quickly ride in and out of them.  We talk about it every ride, are those areas where in the past a bitter battle took place and the spirit has refused to leave?  Is is a natural phenomenon? Who knows...
Spring in my own front yard
After such a wonderful day, dinner at Steak n Shake was an unpleasant and nasty surprise.  We never eat at the one here in our town, it went from good to nasty years ago, and now we won't ever eat at the one in the next town either.  Gross.  We sent it back, but after tasting something that gross... It didn't make it better.  I am going to try a piece of toast this morning, but I think that is all I am willing to try. I am not going to let a minor case of food poisoning (?) taint those beautiful memories from a perfect day. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Is it time yet?

It is really only 10:45 am? It feels like it is taking forever for the afternoon to arrive. The sun is out, it's warming slowly and there is a spring time motorcycle ride in my foreseeable future. Like an hour or so.  The waiting is killing me. 

On the plus side most of my chores are done.  I am taking a small break from ironing.  I am not a fan and it seems that every outfit Hubby has needs ironed today.  Although my goal is to get it all done today.  It is appearing that my schedule for the foreseeable future is averaging about 55 hours a week, and honestly squeezing in any sort of domestic stuff around that has gotten way to difficult.

I didn't get everything on my list done yesterday, I actually ended up not feeling well and stopping everything for a couple of hours.  I hate when it comes down to my body to slow me down.  You would think I would be intelligent enough to manage that one on my own wouldn't you?

Strawberries ready to add
Churning up the most yummy vanilla ice cream
So after slowing down for a few hours, I finally finished up the ice cream and helped Hubby trim our boy Gator's nails.  Gator has nails that grow crazy fast, women would kill for nails like those.  Well, he moved as Hubby snipped and massive chaos entailed. Cutting the quick resulted in lots of blood from the pup's paw, Hubby's blood pressure going through the roof and Mom ending up with a very cramped body from holding on to those seventy pounds for almost an hour while he was treated and making him rest.

Don't believe it... I am needing many more treats to be ok...
Gator is just fine, although he might milk the need for treats a bit longer, he's like that.  And Hubby doesn't look nearly so stressed now.  Poor guy!  He would never willingly hurt anyone or anything.  So he was pretty devastated.  Gator insisted on sleeping firmly between us all night, he is all about going for the sympathy vote if it gets him what he wants.

This afternoon will be what I really need, I am ready for spring, and really feeling so badly for my family up north.  I know they are used to snow, but I have a feeling even they are ready for a bit of green to pop into their world. I am going in search of buds and sunshine today. 

I am trying so hard for a balance, I am struggling with it.  I keep looking for what else I can delete from life to make it more manageable.  I don't want to delete the stuff I love, sure buying soap and pre-made food is simpler, but it doesn't meet the minimum requirement for me to be happy.  I am not sure how to do it.  But I am figuring this is a good place to start.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

earthquakes, locked up soap... world gone mad!

Mom... why did you do that?  It's bed time...
Note to self... do not pick up your cell phone to check on your kids when you wake up at 4:30 am... You will not get back to sleep... they are grown, you need sleep... not...

I am a worry wart where they are concerned.  I know I shouldn't be, they are amazing and well prepared to take care of themselves.  The thing that disturbed me and stopped me from sleeping any longer was not something that could have been prevented, not something my lack of sleep would affect in any form.  But dang!

No mom wants to wake up to a breaking news report that there was a significant earthquake within 50 miles of your child.  You just don't want to hear, see or read that.  Now... awake and coherent, I am sure that if it had been something to stall my heart, I would have heard from said child last night.  Chances are, he didn't hardly notice.  We really didn't notice the slightly smaller one that occurred when I was there.  Heard water falling from a knocked over container, but didn't  feel it.

Sitting here listening to the local news, it seems there was a minor quake down in the boot heel last night. My youngest lives in an area known for quakes and probably far better suited to dealing with it than we are here in the mid-west.  And realistically, I live in a more dangerous seismic area.  Last time the New Madrid fault shifted in a big way they felt the shocks all the way in Philadelphia.  Unlike those in the west, where their faults are much more active, we don't think about ours.  It's almost been relegated to an old time fairy tale. 

I sure didn't feel anyone's earthquake, but the dread in my heart woke me up, all the way.  There was no sleep going to happen. 

I don't know how you handle stress... me... I start working on being domestic.  I was already in that mind set.  I'd had an article show up in my newsfeed last night that some stores are having lock up their soap.  Evidently people are stealing soap... I had clicked on the link to read it, it was a broken link, but a bit of research later... stunned.

I was shocked to read that people are stealing soap in the event of an apocalyptic event, they feel it will have strong monetary value.  Seriously?  Really? Because I am struggling with that concept. Greatly! Although it made me thankful for my skills.  If we are ever in that situation, we could be doing pretty well financially, evidently.

I didn't make soap this morning, that will happen a bit later.  I want to go pick up some vanilla beans to chop up into my vanilla soap, I love the exfoliating properties. 

Mango Sorbet
But I did start cooking.  Hubby bought me the ice cream maker for my KitchenAid and I love to play when I get new toys! It requires some time planning (something I struggle with) but I am getting there.  Thursday when I woke up at the inhumane hour of 2 am I prepped for the mango sorbet, all the bases need at least eight hours of chill time.  When we got home I popped it in the freezer bowl, 15 minutes later... wow, just wow!  Good thing hubby didn't know there were two bowls are we would not have gotten to taste it after the recommended two hour set time in the freezer.

On it's way to being Strawberry Ice Cream
So this morning, to distract myself, I decided to get busy.  I already have the french vanilla base chilling, around 2 pm today I will be chopping up some tasty strawberries to toss in there and getting ready to make a big batch of strawberry ice cream.  I also plan to make another batch of the mango sorbet and a mango mint sherbert.  I think I will have to have an ice cream party.  And it isn't that I am nuts about ice creams, we will see if I can even eat it, ice cream doesn't often work out well for me. I just hate to waste things, and I got a great buy on organic mango's this week. 

The french vanilla needed a LOT of eggs yolks, 8 to be exact, so I am trying to decide what I will make with the whites.  Maybe some coconut macaroons, if the weather dries out I could probably make meringue cookies, but there is a bit too much moisture in the air.  Oh the possibilities!

I am getting ready to whip up a few batches of pasta also.  Preparing for the week ahead is definitely a great way to become distracted.  Today, I am focusing on being domestic.  My kitchen will be filled with great smells, the laundry will get taken care of, a few more batches of soap will be made, then I will clean everything back up. If it does warm up as much as they say, I might even have time to clear out a couple of garden beds and get some lettuce planted.

Finally got the turtle's aquarium taken care of...

Neeko reminding me that they are out of treats also...
It's reassuring to know that I do not need the grocery store to provide for my family.  It's nice to know that if bad things happen, I will still be able to provide the basics my family will need. I can do all of it without electricity if need be.  They won't be naked and they will smell clean, their bellies will stay full.  I can't believe how many folks can't do these things, it simply seems natural to me. 

Hopefully my youngest didn't even notice the shaking last night, anymore than we were aware of what occurred in the boot heel. And the energy that special stress creates will enable me to get so much done, tomorrow is supposed to be clear and warm... which only means one thing... there is a pretty blue Harley that will be calling our name!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Why are you such a bully?

Oh Monday... why did you feel the need to intrude on my weekend?  You are such a bully sometimes!

It's hard for Monday to arrive when your weekend has been awesome, it's so abrupt.  Bullying it's way in and pushing Sunday out of the way. Hubby and I had such a great weekend.  I am simply not ready to crawl out of this wonderful family based cocoon and move back into a world that includes so many people.

Almost a week on the west coast with my son and then this wonderful weekend that included my girls, well following that up simply feels harsh.

Hubby bought me a sign for the wall over my desk, it reads "never get too busy making a living that you forget to have a life".  I think I have been very guilty of that for a long time.  Slowing down these almost two weeks has given me time to think.  Time to process.

For a long time I have known that "no" is not a standard word in my vocabulary.  To the detriment of me and having a life worth living.  I actually had to totally quit volunteering for a while, none, nothing.  Because I had gotten so wrapped up in my inability to say no.  I was the Pack Chairman, heavily involved in the PTSA, I was the "creative idiot" that put together the yearbook each year (and folks wonder why I don't scrapbook - do that for 5 years and see if you do), I was involved in the wives group and a few other things.  It was at a point that I was worried it was an illness.  Not only did I have an inability to say no to volunteer things, I was just as bad with my family and work. 

I wore myself out, trying to be everything that everyone wanted me to be.  I set myself up for a total melt down physically.  Next thing I knew, I had become almost a hermit.  Even now, I have few friends outside of work.  When we do our annual campaign I realize that I have to work harder.  I don't have relationships that are not work centered.

Being gone for almost two weeks, I realized how much the things I value have been pushed aside.  Do you do that?  It's feeling like an illness again.  I was going to leave a bit early on Friday, I had not even been back two and a half days at work and already was over  20 hours at lunch time.  I thought I might head home by 3:30 or 4:00, make a nice dinner for my family, enjoy some time with my Hubby and Grand Baby... That didn't happen.  There was a major mailing that had to go out... Hubby, Grand Baby, myself and one of my co-workers ended up sitting there for hours taking care of it, as 4:00 turned into 5:00 and then 5:30 pm those words were ringing in my head.

I never mind working hard, I will give any job my all. I need to figure out a balance.  I need to find a way to make the ends meet in the middle and not feel like a gumby doll in the middle being pulled in too many directions at once.

I can't be the only person that struggles with this...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Date weekend...

Ahhh... Sitting with my feet up, leaning back in my big comfy chair... trying to find my energy...

It's been a busy weekend.  In a very good way!

Yesterday when I hit publish, I realized I had just written the 300th post,  unbelievable.  I guess if I had paid any attention, I would have celebrated it yesterday.  I didn't.  And it seems kind of anti-climatic to do so today.  Today starts, the next journey to a milestone.  Why look backwards?

Hubby and I have been running errands, taking care of so many little things that often get shuffled aside. And somehow turning it all into a weekend long date.  That is one of the things that I love so much about him.  He makes me feel special, even when we do the silliest most mundane things.

It all started with a need for breakfast and nothing in the house to make it with, so instead of starting soap we went in search of breakfast.  Tomato juice, yogurt, poached eggs, bacon, and a sweet handsome man, the day was off to a good start.  While eating breakfast I mention that I needed to find some lavender buds for soap.  I love the buds in my lavender soap, and hadn't realized I had used them all on the last batch. Thus began the quest.  I had looked online for stores in the area that carried lavender, no luck.  Hubby suggested World Market... I love that store, but it is definitely dangerous for me, okay for both of us.

I can find so much of the stuff that I love from growing up in Europe.  I found exactly what I was in search of, and was ready to head to the house to get busy making batches of soap, I really truly was focused.

Hubby was too, unfortunately not on the same thing I was focused on.  Hubby was on a mission.

Next stop, after all it was on the way home, Harley shop... We had a broken clip on the windshield and wanted to order a new part. Nothing moves very fast in there, but luckily I had my knitting and they have a nice comfy chair to sit in.  I did not mind if he shopped and talked motorcycles for a bit, I was entertained.  Quick run home, to get the Harley, they had an opening for an oil change, and we were off again.

Evidently the coffee maker has been rapidly dying, I don't make coffee... years ago I told Hubby it was his job, it even said so in the Bible... Hebrews... I was simply playing, but he seemed to have taken it to heart. He needed a new coffee pot.  Good and bad... The best place to buy it, Bed, Bath and Beyond, is another one of those stores that we should really not go into.  But we did.

That darn place seems to know when I have a few spare dollars to spend, and they make sure to stock the items that intrigue me the most.  Years ago Hubby bought me a KitchenAid mixer, it is one of my favorite toys.  I love to cook and make the food we eat from scratch as much as possible.

I have had the first pasta maker for years, nothing is as yummy as fresh pasta, Grand baby and I have spent many visits making our own pasta.  I know my pasta does not have chemicals or preservatives in it.  Yesterday as fate would have it, the new pasta press was out.  No longer are we limited to flat noodles, the sky is the limit.  In fact, I am getting ready to make a batch with dinner tonight.  Fresh pasta, honey lime scallops and a nice salad (found my favorite German dressing mix at World Market yesterday!), yum, yum...

We also gave in and bought the ice cream maker, we've talked about it for years, but I always drag my feet.  I hate to spend money.  The only thing that makes it easier for me is my growing dislike of not being able to pronounce half the ingredients in my food.  Each time I encounter it, the more frustrated I get. Sorbet, should not have an ingredient list that is longer than 4 ingredients, ever... actually only 3 if you are doing a single flavor.  I am getting ready to start a batch of strawberry sorbet, lets see strawberries, water and a simple syrup.  That I can understand.

I was starting to get quite concerned that I was not going to get my soaps made, my stress level was mounting, the date day was starting to feel like a hostage situation!

Hubby then suggested we take our groceries and toys home so I could start my soap.  Whew... that was close!  Pull up at the house, start emptying the car, get set up to start the oils melting when Hubby comes in  to let me know they Harley was done.  Seriously?

Oh well, another quick dash up to the Harley shop, then home to make soap.

Rapidly the house is filled with the scents, my stress has completely fled, all is right with the world! I was ready to simply spend the day sipping my hefewiese and playing with my soaps, all was right in my world.

Then Hubby reminded me that it was his friend's birthday... hmmmm... I hate difficult decisions, yeah, I know it was the "right" thing to go, but I was enjoying playing.  And honestly, I did not want to drive 45 minutes to the other side of the city to go to a noisy bar to hang out with strangers.  Yes, I am anti-social, problem?  None in my world.  But I am a nice wife, or I try to be...

It wasn't terrible, okay that is a lie, it was so loud there was no ability to have a conversation, I do not care for that particular location, and I do not consider Bud to be beer.  Ice tea, fake conversations and a headache later we at least saved the night by going to see Daughter and Grand Daughter, since we were on their side of the city, on the way home.

Today... it was another date day... hubby was on a mission yet again.  After researching pasta recipes, almost all recipes suggested that sifting the flour makes a better noodle..  We didn't have one.  Evidently, most "normal" people now, do not either, and buying one was a serious exercise in determination.   Four stores later, one was found, the looks of surprise on peoples faces that we actually wanted to buy one was absolutely priceless.

We wandered, laughed, enjoyed each other as we went through our chore list, discovered several new favorite stores and lived life.  I still have another batch of soap to make, bills to pay, a house to tidy back up.  We got our motorcycle ready for next weekend, I got several inches on the sock I am working on, four batches of soap made, and still found time to sit down, kick back and love on my boys.

I love my life. I love the fact that my Hubby doesn't think I am a nut, that he finds value in my uniqueness.  I love the silly man that put on a fashion show in the dressing room for me today. The same one that dances the moon walk in the lobby of my Y to make our Grand Baby laugh. I love that instead of being shocked that I know how to make mayonnaise from scratch, he hovers and can't wait for it to be finished for his tuna sandwich when he discovers that he's run out mid-prep.

I hope that all our daughters find husbands like him.  Or partners in life.  I hope that they can laugh at the silliest things and know the person laughing with them is doing just that.  Enjoying life beside them!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

What to do with an early spring weekend...

It's soap making day!  I have needed to get this done and with the craziness that has been this year, well it simply has not happened. And now I have orders with no soap, this is not a happy thing.  In just a few minutes I will bring all the supplies upstairs, start lining boxes, heating up the crock pots and get ready to get started.

I love making soap, the fragrance and the changes as it goes from a collection of oils into the finished bar of soap fascinates me.  And I love the finished product.  It's been years since I have bought a bar of commercial soap.  Literally, years. I rarely even use a commercial soap, the chemical's dry my skin so badly.  I truly cannot stand the feeling.  I have even been known to carry a bar of my soap in a zip lock baggie to avoid having to use commercial, chemical laden soaps.

Hubby isn't as in love with it, not because he doesn't like it.  In fact if I could finally manage to get the same amount of "bubbles and lather" that he gets from the chemical concoctions, I am fairly positive that I could convert him completely.  He was raised to believe that soap must have lots of lather and bubbles to be effective.  No matter what arguments I give him he simply can't believe otherwise.

Me on the other hand, I could not care less about bubbles.  I care about how my skin likes it.  And with skin as sensitive as mine is to chemicals, I simply could not imagine it any other way.

So soap's will be made... after that, a bit of bill paying and then I am trying to decide what to move on to next.  As I was eating some mozzarella sticks with my grand baby, I remembered that  I had bought a kit to try my hand at making my own, I'd been wanting to do it with her, but she is rarely here.  Maybe I will sweet talk hubby into helping me?

I had thought about starting to prepare my garden beds, but sadly, I think that would be stupid, as snow is predicted yet again this week.  Even snow peas aren't real fond of starting life in a frozen state. Soon it will be time to put in those yummy delicate spring veggies lettuce, spinach, radishes, peas, maybe even try to get some early kale started, but I just don't think the weather is quiet ready to cooperate.  Someone did not show mother nature the calendar that says "spring has arrived".

Last years early beds

I know I need to clean the turtle aquarium and the lizard's aquarium is looking bad also, he could use some fresh sand.

Then of course I will need some knitting time.  I am still on a quest to knit daily.

But above all, depending on how warm it gets, we will need some motorcycle time! That might have to wait until next weekend when it is supposed to be in the 70's.  But it is coming.  Yesterday would have been a good day, but being in the mid-west you simply never know.  We never did get the rain they were predicting, but sure enough if we had ridden we would have. It's all good.  Hubby needs to go up to the Harley shop today and order a clamp for the windshield and get new lenses for the lights.  And maybe it will be warm enough to give her a bath, she is showing the miles we've put on her this winter, without a garage it's been too cold to give her a good cleaning.

putato, putato, putato

Maybe hubby and I will even go get some grass seed.  Seems the trees in the back yard, have created a very hostile environment to grass, need some serious shade blend, before I am forced to resort to something as radical as plowing all the grass under and planting hundreds of shade loving plants. And I can't do that... my swings are in the shaded areas and I enjoy sitting out there with my boys too much!  All the areas that get sun are dedicated to my gardens, and this year my green house.

Hmmm.... looks like without thinking about it I have managed to insure very little time to sit back and relax this weekend.  Well, that's probably good.  I don't relax well.  Sitting still is simply not a good thing for me, I really don't understand how some people can sit ideally for hours, I just don't grasp it.  Even watching a show my hands need to be busy. Is that a sign of a sick mind?  One does wonder!

Friday, March 21, 2014

You have now entered a dimension of...

I am not really sure what time zone I am living in, but it's a weird one. Not tired at night, my brain is still on California time... and then awake at four in the morning, what is going on?
Welcome home roses

It's amazing how quickly that glow from a wonderful vacation drifts away.  Hubby was so wonderful!  I forgot to take a picture of my roses, I will have to do that today. But it was so nice to come home to my teddy bear hug! A quick lunch at our favorite diner and then back to work.  He had a beautiful bouquet of roses sitting on my desk for me.  I think he might have missed me.

He was a busy guy while I was gone, I am fairly sure that bachelorhood is not something my once "I will never get married again" hubby is ever going to be made for again.  The house was cleaned, the dogs were bathed, dinner was waiting, an ice cold Erdinger was waiting, he replaced my broken down dryer, and even bought a Roku for the bedroom television so I could watch my shows in the evening.  It felt like a twilight zone episode.

Oh, Hubby is amazing and wonderful, I never want for much of anything ever, in fact I have to be careful... sometimes I will mention something is cool, nice or pretty, I might end up owning it.  But the truth of the matter is that I am married to one of a dying breed.  Hubby is a 1950's Hubby!  He would be happiest if I could be a stay at home wife, and he could be the soul provider.  Truthfully, so would I. I love being a home maker and he loves having his home made. It's a win-win.  Or rather it would be.  Sadly 1950 is a long time ago. 

So for him to do all those domestic chores while I was gone is a bit odd.  Oh he helps, that isn't what I am saying.  But the norm for the hubby... well the norm is that he loves to be taken care of...

So I am sitting in a nice clean house (loving it I might add), sipping coffee (missed that in California), enjoying my morning and wondering why I am up so early.  Realizing I miss my baby girl, maybe I feel like a bit of sleep is all I need... not sure...

Maybe I am exploring what my "passions" really are... that is something that still needs to be chewed on, processed and then put together to make a whole picture.

For now... I think I will sip coffee with hubby and relax for a few minutes before I cut his hair....

Well.. the few minutes ended hours ago... Mr. Impatient needed his hair cut right away... he wanted to take me out for breakfast.  It was nice, very nice... the perfect start to a really long day, that included angel time.  Lots of angel time...

I really am blessed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

peace, quiet and bird songs...

I will miss these quiet mornings.  I am sitting outside on the patio, listening to the birds.  There is one in particular that I have grown quite fond of.  I don't know what it is, I can't see it out of the windows or from the patio.  It is a hauntingly beautiful call, loud, but not shrill.  It seems to only call in the wee hours of morning, before the sun has agreed to wake up. It echos through the garden outside the apartment, soft, deep, with a beautiful melody.  That alone could convince me this is a great place to be.  As the sun breaks over the horizon and the smaller birds start singing, it stops, the void left is so noticeable.

I probably won't hear it tomorrow, as by that time of the day we will be at the airport, not sitting outside sipping tea and listening to bird songs.

It's odd, the sheer number of people here yet it is so much greater than where I live.  I have no idea how many live in this apartment complex alone, and yet it is so quiet, so peaceful and so beautiful.  The stucco walls must be amazing isolators of sound, or maybe they simply respect the silence and beauty much more.

In a week I have not once heard people driving down the road with music blasting, walking the beach involved no profanity.  And the only homeless people I saw were in Hollywood.  And not one of them followed me down the street harassing me.

I guess my jaded mid-west mind set was incorrect.  Sure gas is more expensive, but only by about thirty cents, the apartment was more than I would want to have to pay, but honestly... there are many apartments in the mid-west that are equally as expensive and not as nice. I guess it is a trade off.

At home... we would love to be considered diverse, but honestly, we are not.  We grate and grind against each other, our cultures, beliefs, the way we talk, the way we raise our children, the way we simply exist. I have had dear friends ask me to not go into certain neighborhoods out of fear.

Sitting with the Grand baby by the pool yesterday, just in this one little apartment complex, I heard so many different languages, dialects, accents, everyone from the business professional in full three piece suit to the surfer guy and his son.  Old, young, everything in between.  Everyone was so kind to each other, smiling and saying hello, it was so much like what I am used to, the way that I grew up.

Makes me wonder just what everyone at home is afraid of.  The boy had his hair cut yesterday, Bertha was definitely not German, even with a German name.  She was a wonderful woman of Hispanic descent.  I am enjoying this melting pot.  I am loving the vast differences and the single common denominator, everyone is human.

The boy told me that here everyone kind of stays to themselves, at the end of a busy day they go home and spend time with their friends and families.  It sort of seems that way.  I am sure there are people here that aren't friendly, of course it isn't a utopia, but if they aren't they are discrete about it.

Maybe I didn't go into the historically "bad" neighborhoods.  I admit I haven't been hanging out in Compton or any of the others.  Hollywood was the worst neighborhood I was in.  And it is not nice.  For an area of over 3.8 million people, there seems to be more nice, caring and kind people than I expected.  It will be hard to leave in the morning.  I have enjoyed the time with my boy.

While I will miss him, I will leave knowing he is in a good place.  I will take peace with me.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Playing in the Sun in So Cal

The sun has been up for a few hours, it's so peaceful here.  I am sitting in the dark, listening to the soft breathing of my grand baby.  She's a bit worn out from the past couple of days.  Today we will take it down a bit and just relax.  Run a few errands, do some laundry, enjoy the day. There might even be some wave chasing, shell gathering going on. We only have a few more days here.

Long Beach was amazing!  Now I can understand why people move here.  The breeze off the ocean made for a delightful contrast to the warmth of the day.  In fact when we were out on the boat I was so thankful that we'd all brought jackets and that baby girl was wearing long pants.

First stop was Aquarium of the Pacific.  Wow, that is all there is... the wow factor was so high it was unbelievable.  We were able to pet moon jelly fish, bamboo sharks, sting rays, anemones, sea urchins, star fish and so much more.  It was lively, beautiful and educational.

Bixby the Harbor Seal Pup was so engaging and busy following fingers and chasing people in the underwater viewing tunnel.  It was the perfect start to the day.

Next up we went whale watching!  It was so much fun! We were only hopeful we would see whales, I have other friends that have done that recently and didn't see any.  So I wasn't expecting much.  Just hopeful!

Well, we not only managed to see whales at least 5 times, evidently we were in the right place at the right time.  Although my photo skills and my phone camera might not be the best tools for recording this incredible sight.  We watched them surface and come up out of the water, none of them jumped for us, but that is okay.  just to watch them was so cool.

Heading back to the harbor we ran into a mega pod of dolphins. There are truly no words to describe the wonder of that!  Our boat was literally surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of playful dolphins.  Jumping out of the water and chasing the boat, racing us, and moving so fast.  It was incredible, absolutely incredible. Our captain decided to play with them for a bit, turning the boat in large circles as they entertained us all.  Pairs of dolphins like groups of synchronized swimmers, frolicking and splashing in the waves.  It was simply amazing!

The sedate sea lions sunning themselves on the buoy's seemed sort of anticlimactic after all that energy!!

Back on shore we strolled the harbor walk, enjoying the beauty and eating dinner over looking the harbor, as the sun was starting to set we headed back to the house, we needed to rest to get ready for the next day.

Yesterday brought a new experience... Disneyland.  I believe I have said many times that I am not an amusement park fan.  I do not like the crowds, the chaos, or well much about them.  But how could I bring my grand baby to Southern California and not take her to Disney?

Her excitement was barely able to be contained!  Even standing in line for almost an hour just to get the tickets did not dampen her enthusiasm.  The boy and I were not so sure we were sharing it... we accidentally picked the hottest day to go. And standing in those non-moving lines for tickets was a bit tiring.

Once inside, we couldn't tell that smiling little girl no.  We immediately ran into Goofy!  So it was definitely picture time! Next stop lunch, none of us had eaten and it was already lunch time.  We enjoyed lunch while watching Darth Vader, Jedi and the rest of the Star Wars cast.

Grand baby, who had assured me had grown out of her passion for princesses, wanted to get into that castle!  Next thing you know we are Bibbity, Bobbity Boutiquing it... after wandering around she discovered rides...

Tea Cups were first up, that was so much fun! Then we decided to go on the Storybook Boats.  The miniatures were amazing!  After what seemed like hours in Storybook land we were off to ToonTown!

Against the California sky, the scenery blended in so perfectly that they boy and I were absolutely dumb struck.  It simply didn't look real.  Little bit decided she needed to climb around in Chip and Dales house for a bit.  Gave me and the boy a chance to stand in the shade and enjoy some cold drinks.  Man was it ever hot!

That was when it started... our little thrill seeker decided we should brave the mini-roller coaster in Chip and Dales back yard.  The boy and I should have been concerned.  After all neither of us were your typical ride rider, we simply don't do it. But how do you tell a cutie pie no?

That first "thrill ride" opened a flood gate... Pirates of the Caribbean,  Splash Mountain (why yes, for the record... white clothing on that ride = serious wardrobe malfunction) Although Miss Thing loved being in front even though she was soaked to the bone!

There was only one ride she really wanted to conquer, as the sun was starting to get lower, and everyone was heading to the main road for the parade we gave her the choice, parade or Matterhorn Bobsleds. Dancing and singing characters were absolutely no match for the little thrill seeker... and luckily... most everyone else wanted to see the parade.   Twenty minutes later we were dashing through the dark tunnels Miss Thing leading the charge!

Her adrenaline was running high after that... me and the boy, we were running out of steam. With the sun starting to head down we slowly started guiding her to the exit, hoping that there were no more rides along the way.  We'd been there for over nine hours, we were so tired.  To think I had offered to get the multi-park one day pass... whew!

Enjoying the parade as we left, stopping for a chocolate dipped strawberry, slowly the little thrill seeker started to realize she was so tired!

Waiting for the Tram she almost fell asleep standing up.  The view of Anaheim from the parking garage was so beautiful.  It was a wonderful day!

Disneyland and Disneyland Paris are almost mirror images of each other.  So it was familiar even though I had never been there.  Spending the day with two of my favorite people was priceless.  I wish Grampa had been there to enjoy it with us, although I am afraid she would have had him calling uncle! She wore us out!

Who knows what treasures today has... our time here is running short...

have you tried...

I am learning.   It's a late day for me and I am enjoying the solitude of the morning.  I am working on bringing some balance back ...