Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Wrap Up

December 31st . . . 

How did this happen? Not really the end of the year as much as the end of the holidays. I've been sick for the past 10 days. Really not the way to spend your holidays let me tell you. Curled up in bed tossing back codeine laced cough syrup and antibiotics that made me feel worse than the disease. No Christmas dinner. Alone in the house while the rest of the family went to celebrate. Then assuming the worst was over and I'd be feeling much better -- NOT. Still stuffy and coughing a week later. 

So what have I learned from this experience? Christmas is just another day in the year. There is no right way to do Christmas. I have an amazing family -- husband, daughter, and son -- who all took up the slack and made sure presents were wrapped and delivered. Important food items were prepared and eaten. And in the midst of it all they kept the kitchen and laundry mostly caught up, all while checking on me, feeding me, getting me drinks, and meds, and just visiting me as I coughed my way through bags of cough drops and boxes of tissues.

Oddly, the other lesson I learned is how much I do for my family. I don't really think I do that much as a rule. Sure I wash clothes and dishes. I prepare meals and do the shopping. I pick up around the house, but somehow it doesn't seem like that much . . . until I couldn't do it. Until they had to handle it all themselves. Perhaps I'm not just taking up space. Perhaps I serve some useful purpose after all. 

So on this last day of 2012 I encourage you to look back at the year and recognize what you do for others. Maybe you already know this, but maybe you're like me, and tend to assume the world would function just fine without you in it. You might be surprised.

Blessings of the new year where we all can find our purpose.

Made by You Monday -- Honeybaked Ham Soup

Each Christmas we get a coupon for a Honeybaked Ham. And each year I save the bone to make soup. And am just a little disappointed in the flavor, but this year I think we have a winner.
It's really just a variation on my standard ham and bean soup, but it was SO GOOD! Of course, it might have helped that dh and dd actually made it since I've been sick for nearly 2 weeks.

Anyway, here you go . . .

Place ham bone in large Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours or until meat is falling off the bone. Remove bone and meat. Discard bone. Shred meat. Strain broth and set aside. 

Soak 2 cups assorted dry beans overnight OR using quick soak method. Drain and rinse beans. 

In large Dutch oven combine beans, ham, broth, 1 15-oz can tomatoes, and one large onion, diced. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook for 3-4 hours, checking moisture level periodically. We added 2 cups of water and adjusted the temperature. It was perfect after about 4 hours. We didn't add any additional spices or salt.

Serve with English Muffin loaves or any good crusty bread.

Happy Eating!
linking up at Made by You Monday

Saturday, December 29, 2012

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Ode to Christmas


(guest post by DH aka Alan Pennington)

Ode to Christmas

It was the day before Christmas
Sam in his bed,
Melanie coughs up a lung,
And Claire baking bread.

The Y was half empty,
A chin up, a sit up,
A squat and a lung,
Not too much work out but still had some fun.

Sam made the pumpkin bread,
Already half gone,
Claire made the sour dough,
Not quite ready, but it won't be long.

The packages are half wrapped,
The house is a wreck,
Clothes are all dirty,
Except for my sweats.

Though tattered and scattered, our lives may be,
I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be.
My son and my daughter, getting along,
And Melanie, though groggy is coming around.

Santa oh Santa,
On this Christmas eve,
Help us remember,
Help us believe.

Christ in the manger,
Mary so calm,
The stars watching over,
The savior has come.

Lord lift my heart,
Draw us all tight,
Share with us joy,
And if is not too much trouble, could you heal my wife.

Merry x-mas all!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Gift

I haven't seen my parents in nearly a year. 
It was my choice to take a break from interacting with them, as I try to continue healing from CSA and 2 rapes as an adult.
I finally ran out of strength and energy to try and get them to understand my pain, and the things I needed from them.
I didn't stop loving them or wanting their approval. 
What I am learning is that I can love them in all their imperfection, and that their not understanding doesn't equal not loving me.

Last night my daughter had dinner with them and took my Christmas gift to them. My hope was that it would be a way for me help them see me -- who I really am. I put a basket together filled with significant things from my life, and I enclosed a letter explaining each item.



Dear Mother and Daddy,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year all rolled into one!

This year I have decided to do a joint gift for you. It is a basket filled with things I love and want to share with you. This note is an explanation of each item.

Mother, this shawl is for you. It is made of 100% recycled cotton yarn. When I first returned to crocheting a few years ago, I was determined to learn to read patterns, and this is the first shawl I made using a pattern. I have kept it because I loved it so much, and now I want you to have it. The colors make me think of you. You may wear it or use it as a table linen. I hope you enjoy it. (It can be machine washed on a cold delicate cycle, and then laid flat to dry.)

Daddy, the prayer beads are for you. I have always been intrigued by prayer beads, and as I have worked on healing I have found them to be very helpful in keeping me centered in moments of panic or stress. I have included instructions on how to use them, along with a prayer from Julian of Norwich. Turquoise is one of my favorite stones to work with, and I hope you will enjoy using them or just looking at them and thinking of me. (If you are interested in more information on using them, I have some books you could look at. Feel free to email me about them.)

The remaining items are for you to share:

Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals is a devotional book that I have been using for a couple of years now. It is based on The Book of Common Prayer, but has been modernized and simplified. Each day provides a message, readings from the Old and New Testaments and Psalms, as well as a hymn (all in the back of the volume) and then providing an opportunity to pray for others. I frequently look the hymns up on YouTube and listen to them as I read. This particular volume has opened my eyes to a greater understanding of God’s love for all people, and helped me widen my world view.

"The Ghost on the Canvas" is Glen Campbell’s final cd. He has retired since being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Campbell has always been one of my favorites. I feel as if I grew up listening to him, along with the Lettermen, and Jimmie Driftwood, among others. Anyway, I have found this cd to be very moving both musically and lyrically. I hope you both enjoy it as well.

First Watch (gift certificate) is a new restaurant in town. I know how much you enjoy going out to eat, and I always enjoy sharing new places with you. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch until 2:30, no dinner. The food is lovely! Wonderful eggs, waffles, pancakes, sandwiches, and soups. I hope you get a chance to try it, and let me know what you think.

Finally, the basket is from SERRV.org. They are a fair trade organization, and I like the hands on quality of their items, as well as knowing the gift serves a dual purpose. Of course, my theory is you can never have too many baskets!

I want you both to know that I appreciate this time you are giving to me to work on healing, and I look forward to continuing to improve and deepen our relationship. I love you both very much.

Blessings

My daughter said they seemed pleased and touched. I have felt good about this gift for them. I investigated my motivations. I had close friends read the letter. I felt happy with what I had done. 

But now after it is all said and done, I'm not sure what I feel. I am glad that they received it well. I know that I can't control their reactions, and I know that one gift does not heal the past. I want it to be a point of moving forward. I want to get to a place where I can be physically present with them, and be glad to be there. I don't want them to hurt, but I don't want to hurt anymore either.

And so, once again, I hand it over to God. I pray for guidance. I pray for peace. And I remind myself that real life is messy, and looks nothing like a Hallmark Christmas card.



Wordless Wednesday






linking up with Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook



FOR TODAY . . . December 18, 2012

Outside my window . . . it is clearing, but still warmer than usual. Oh well, the one thing you can count on here is the weather will change . . . regularly.


I am thinking . . . we are one week away from Christmas and I am feeling incredibly calm. It's nice heading into the final week without feeling all the anxiety I've felt in the past. I see this as growth and good work on my part.

I am thankful . . . that my ds was able to retrieve my data from my old hard drive. So much information, pictures, and music. I'm so happy he was able to retrieve it.

In the kitchen . . . last night was Inside Out Ravioli and garlic toasties. I'm not sure about tonight, since I'm not sure how many I'm feeding for dinner.

I am wearing . . . my yoga pants and a couple of tank tops.

I am creating . . . the striped afghan I started during the summer. I picked it back up yesterday and realized I'm not that far from being finished. I'm a little confused on where I was in the pattern, but since it was a random pattern, I've decided not to worry about it.


I am going . . . to the used bookstore with my dd this afternoon. We have some books to (hopefully) sell, and then look around for some Christmas presents.

I am wondering . . . about traditions. I don't think traditions can be enforced on others. I think traditions naturally occur out of things that the whole family enjoys. Comments?

I am reading . . . Two Truths and a Lie by Katrina Kittle. This is actually the 3rd time I've read this book. I recently loaned it to my daughter and she found it to be a disturbing read. I didn't remember it as disturbing, so I'm reading it again. I really like these characters a lot!

I am looking forward to . . . continuing to enjoy having all my peeps at home.

I am hearing . . . Christmas music from Pandora. I typed in "Bing Crosby" and a holiday station popped up. It's lovely.

Around the house . . . things are getting better. We're working on organizing, and getting the house clean -- just because. Not because we're having company or because I feel guilty, but because it's nice to have things lovely just for us.

I am pondering . . . the more relaxed pace the holidays have brought us this year.

One of my favorite things . . . not feeling stressed. Yes I recognize that's a negative favorite thing, but it's where I am right now.


A few plans for the rest of the week . . . yoga class, an appointment tomorrow, a meeting, and guest for dinner, and then it will be the weekend before Christmas : )

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
the goodie basket I did for my parents




Monday, December 17, 2012

English Muffin Loaves

Over the weekend, I made these loaves, and almost didn't get a photo! My neighbor had surgery, so I made her family a pot of Chicken Minestrone Soup and a loaf of this bread. That left a loaf for us as well, which made my household happy as well.

This is an old recipe, and I really have no idea of its provenance. I hadn't made it in years, but I'm sure I'll be making it again very soon. It's a sturdy bread so it's good with soups and stews, or butter and jam. It also makes a lovely gift.

English Muffin Loaves
5-6 cups allpurpose unbleached flour (I've never used more that about 4-5 cups)
2 pkg. yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk (I use fat free)
1/2 cup oil (I use canola)
cornmeal

Combine 3 c. flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and soda in a large mixing bowl. Heat liquids until very warm (120-130 degrees F). Add liquids to dry ingredients and stir well. Stir in enough additional flour to make a stiff batter. Spoon into 2 standard loaf pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray and sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle tops of loaves with additional cornmeal. Cover with a cloth napkin or dish towel (not terrycloth) and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.


Happy Eating!

linking up to Made by You Monday

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Be the Light

I don't usually talk about national events on this space, but I can't get away from the tragedy on Friday. I don't think I have anything of real value to add to the discussion/debate, but I have read a couple of things that resonated with me. I'm going to share them here. Comment if you'd like. Think and ruminate. Share if it will help you or someone else, but above all else, be the Light. Accept that there is much darkness in this world, and strive to be the one pinprick of light that may help someone else.

Peace and blessings to all.

TURN OFF THE NEWS......."You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here's why.


It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN's article says that if the body count "holds up", this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news."


1. Charlotte Bacon (DOB 2/22/06)

2. Daniel Barden (9/25/05)

3. Rachel Davino (7/17/83)

4. Olivia Engel (7/18/06)

5. Josephine Gay (12/11/05)

6. Ana M. Marquez-Greene (4/4/06)

7. Dylan Hockley (3/8/06)

8. Dawn Hocksprung (6/28/65)

9. Madeleine F. Hsu (7/10/06)

10. Catherine V. Hubbard (6/8/06)

11. Chase Kowalski (10/31/05)

12. Jesse Lewis (6/30/06)

13. James Mattioli (3/22/06)

14. Grace McDonnell (11/04/05)

15. AnneMarie Murphy (07/25/60)

16. Emilie Parker (5/12/06)

17. Jack Pinto (5/6/06)

18. Noah Pozner (11/20/06)

19. Caroline Previdi (9/7/06)

20. Jessica Rekos (5/10/06)

21. Avielle Richman (10/17/06)

22. Lauren Russeau (6/1982)

23. Mary Sherlach (2/11/56)

24. Victoria Soto (11/4/85)

25. Benjamin Wheeler (9/12/06)

26. Allison N. Wyatt (7/3/06)


27. Nancy Lanza 

28. Adam Lanza


I am Adam Lanza’s Mother
Friday’s horrific national tragedy—the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Town, Connecticut—has ignited a new discussion on violence in America. In kitchens and coffee shops across the country, we tearfully debate the many faces of violence in America: gun culture, media violence, lack of mental health services, overt and covert wars abroad, religion, politics and the way we raise our children. Liza Long, a writer based in Boise, says it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”

“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”

“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.

We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.

At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.

Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district’s most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can’t function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.

The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, “Look, Mom, I’m really sorry. Can I have video games back today?”

“No way,” I told him. “You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly.”

His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. “Then I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I’m going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself.”

That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.

“Where are you taking me?” he said, suddenly worried. “Where are we going?”

“You know where we are going,” I replied.

“No! You can’t do that to me! You’re sending me to hell! You’re sending me straight to hell!”

I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”

Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer.

The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork—“Were there any difficulties with… at what age did your child… were there any problems with.. has your child ever experienced.. does your child have…”

At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You’ll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.

For days, my son insisted that I was lying—that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, “I hate you. And I’m going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here.”

By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I’ve heard those promises for years. I don’t believe them anymore.

On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”

And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am Jason Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011.

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”

I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.

(Originally published at The Anarchist Soccer Mom.)
liza long is an author, musician, and erstwhile classicist. she is also a single mother of four bright, loved children, one of whom has special needs.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
















(the coffee is from a fair trade coffee shop that helps defray adoption costs, as well as supporting non-profit organizations, and the arts  -- Just Love Coffee)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Musings

It's Friday morning which is typically a link up with Red Writing Hood. The prompt just didn't speak to me. Jackson Pollock, gallery, security guards. I know the first thing that popped into my head was a Pollock painting that was used for the Olympics back in the '70s, but when I Googled it I realized I must have the wrong painter in mind, so that threw me off completely.

Christmas traditions. That's a fun topic. I don't have the close relationship with my family of origin that I would like. In my immediate family, we've never really established many Christmas traditions. Maybe because traditions felt more like rules to be followed. If I have to force someone to do something how is that a good, fun thing?

This year the tree was decorated in stages. Alan put it up and got the lights on it. My bestie and I put all the decorations on it, except for the pickle. The pickle? Don't you hang a pickle on your tree? My husband is of Austrian descent. When we were first married someone brought a pickle ornament to a swap party, claiming that it was an old German tradition. We were intrigued and took the pickle home. As we had children and they grew, it became a tradition to hide the pickle all over the living room as we were decorating the tree. 
When my bestie and I decorated, we hung the pickle on the tree, but Alan took it down. It's been laying on the dining room table waiting for Alan and Sam to have a chance to play hide the pickle. 

That's it. That's our Christmas tradition. It's not much, but it's almost all we've got. Except for listening the David Sedaris' Six to Eight Black Men, and nearly peeing in our pants.

What are your traditions?

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Saturday Morning

Saturday morning at my house . . . 

Well it depends on the season. 

Right now it goes something like this:

Hubby gets up at 5:30 and does a little computer stuff -- Facebook, emails, checking the news. After that he heads off to the YMCA for a swim. 

I snuggle in under the covers after he pats or kisses me goodbye.

Later (maybe 7:30 or 8:30) I cat-stretch my way out of bed, and head to the kitchen to make some tea. Hubby wanders in and makes himself some eggs. He offers me some. I decline. I always decline, but he always offers.


I putter on the computer. He putters on the computer. I eat some yogurt or cereal or toast or oatmeal. He gets a little snack.

We talk about plans for the day. This used to bother me -- as if I were supposed to have all kinds of monumental plans for amazing things -- but now I understand he's just curious. Will there be time for us during this Saturday? Will we get to do something together?

Later . . .  much later, our 2 college aged kids will stumble from their rooms. Hubby will comment on how they can sleep half the day away. They will respond with grunts and defensiveness. When they've had time to wake up in their own individual ways (daughter with her computer; son by brushing his teeth) we will all chat about what we want to do. What could do. What ought to get done. 

And then someone will say, "What's for lunch?" And I will realize I'm still in my jammies.


linking up to Writer's Workshop

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook



FOR TODAY . . . December 11, 2012

Outside my window . . . it is cloudy and COLD! "They" are predicting sun by lunch time. Fingers crossed!


I am thinking . . . about yoga class. I'm finally getting back to my Tuesday morning class today. I haven't been in I can't remember when.

I am thankful . . . to have the house full again and to have everyone getting along (so far!)

In the kitchen . . . last night was apple chicken sausages, black eye peas, and a new spinach souffle. I'm not sure about tonight, as I'm going to the grocery today.

I am wearing . . . yoga pants, yoga shirts, Crocs, and a sweatshirt.

I am creating . . . afghans and afghans and afghans. I really need to start something else more fun, but after vacation last week, I'm still trying to get things pulled together.


I am going . . . to take ds looking for some running shoes later today. Don't know that we'll buy anything, but I promised to let him go try some new ones on.

I am wondering . . . about this "new" computer I'm using. Yesterday my little Acer netbook gave up the ghost. Dh is loaning me his laptop to use until we figure out what to do. I've done all my writing for the past 2 years on the Acer. I'm really going to miss it, but mostly I hope we can retrieve the data that wasn't backed up from it.

I am reading . . . I'm kind of in between things right now. I'm thinking I need a run to the library to correct this situation!

I am looking forward to . . . Saturday. Four of us are getting together for brunch. We have been friends since high school, but haven't all been together in a couple of years.

I am hearing . . . Yaya whining, because she wants me to sit on the couch with her.

Around the house . . . we're still recovering from vacation, and still looking at boxes that Christmas decorations were in. If I don't get them put away soon, it won't be worth the trouble!

I am pondering . . . a comment our minister made on Sunday -- "Advent is a time of deep waiting". I really like that. You can listen to the entire sermon here.

One of my favorite things . . . is vacationing with just dh. We went to Florida last week and swam with the manatees, went scuba diving in the springs, and went for an air boat ride. So much fun, and just wonderful to have so much uninterrupted time together!


A few plans for the rest of the week . . . a massage this afternoon, appointment in the morning, lunch with my bestie, maybe a haircut, and then brunch on Saturday.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
this juvenile male manatee kept rolling
over so we'd scratch his belly!
[photo by Alan Pennington]

Monday, December 10, 2012

:: right now ::







































































Right now I am . . . 

:: seeing the rain and clouds lingered from overnight.

:: remembering the sun on my face as we rode the air-boat across the clear water.

:: smiling at the joy my husband found while we were in Florida.

:: marveling at the wonder, awe, and majesty of God's creations.

:: laughing as I remember finding this book in an antique store, especially the page headed "Everyday Errors in Room Arrangement" from 1933.

:: happy to be back home with my tree and both kids home from college.

:: looking forward to using my new sewing/crafting basket from SERRV.

:: relishing these oranges bought to support a local school. So delicious, and a nice reminder of Florida, and holidays from my childhood.

:: focusing on some good thoughts I've read/heard lately:

There's no reason to race. In fact, there's every reason not to. -- SouleMama


. . . so much of it is just noise and all that really counts are relationships. Finding your own truth. Putting your hand on your heart and following it. Life's short. And chaotic and blissful and changeable and inspiring and too much fun to miss. Hand on heart. Follow it. -- inner pickle

Advent is the season of deep waiting. -- Josh Graves

Sunday, December 9, 2012

MIA

Just a quick "hello" this morning to let you know I haven't fallen off the planet.

Alan and I went on vacation last week, and were supposed to have wi-fi, but alas, we did not.

Here's a teaser for upcoming posts:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cranberry Apple Skillet Pie


A few weeks ago, I saw this post and was immediately intrigued by the recipe. For one thing, I love any excuse to bake/cook with cranberries. Secondly, apples and cranberries are second only to oranges and cranberries in favorite flavor combinations. And finally, it's all made in an iron skillet, which is just about as happy as it gets. That being said, I made a few variations in the recipe and served it last week to rave reviews. Whether you slice it like a pie, or serve it like a cobbler, it tastes fabulous, and is just a lovely winter dessert.

I have a well-seasoned iron skillet that I use for a variety of purposes, so I would encourage you to use the same. If you are new to ironware cooking check out this site for seasoning directions.

6 cored, peeled and chopped apples (I used galas)
12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 brown sugar (next time I'm going to try demerara sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice (you could probably omit this given the tart flavor of fresh cranberries)
2 pie crusts (I used Publix Ready to Use crusts)
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350*.
Mix apples and cranberries with flour until all the fruit is covered. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla until well mixed. Line skillet with one pie crust. Pour in fruit mixture, and dot with cold butter. Cover with remaining pie crusts, crimping or sealing edges to bottom crust.
Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until crust is a nice golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

linking up with Made by You Monday

Saturday, December 1, 2012

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.