Saturday, February 26, 2011

Roast Your Own Coffee at Home - A Video Tutorial - (of sorts)

I have no idea why I do this to m'self. 
I really think I need to be one of those blogs that photoshops everything and puts that foggy filter on it so that things look all dreamy.
But here we go - roasting your own coffee.

I had to do it in two parts - cause I really don't know how to work a camera.
And at the tail end of the first one - I've no idea what happened.
And - I want braces.
Liposuction. is where I order my beans from - but there are quite a few green bean purveyors out there - so just Google 'green coffee beans' or 'roasting your own coffee' and you'll be amazed at the offerings.

YouTube has a bunch of videos about coffee roasting, and they probably don't involve singing, choking, and stumbling over your words like mine.
At least I didn't burn down the garage - yet.

    Here's another blog post I did about coffee roasting about a year ago, has some great before and after       pictures.

*clarification about the de-gassing part - it's just putting them in an air tight container and not using them for a couple of days.*

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lord Have Mercy

Photo from Little Blue Deer Blog

I hate that I'm being reduced to saying
"oh I've been so busy, please check back tomorrow for a blog post."
It's true.
I'm sorry.

Glen took a candid shot of me in the chicken coop this morning (see above).
As you can see, my weight loss efforts are already paying off!

I have been so busy!
I've been gone just about every day this week.
I can't wait to tell you all about it.
I've been working doing some 'professional organizing'.
Apparently I have marketable skills.
Who knew?

This Bootcamp is kicking my butt in wonderful ways.

I have Pink Chicken updates.
I've been hired to bake!
Who knew?

I've got my secret skin serum all bottled up and ready to go.

I started taking medication for Adult ADHD, and I want to tell you all about that, since it really might help someone.

I planned on getting my coffee tutorial up this morning, but I don't want to rush through it, so I'm going to record it tomorrow.

I can't decide if I want to have a jazzy music background for it - or bluegrass.
I love the idea of Jazz and coffee - don't you?  Seems so.....grown up.

But I do feel a little like a hillbilly when I'm roasting it.
Tune in tomorrow.....

For now I must get up and do my hour of cardio for the day, and lift some weights.
Then I go off to organize a basement for a few hours, and then grocery shopping.
I'm feeling fantastic.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dutch Oven Bread Tutorial!

Without further adieu!
The first of many video tutorials of life about the old farmhouse.

Here's the recipe....

3 cups all purpose flour
1.5 t kosher salt
1/4 t instant yeast
1.5 cups warm water

please watch video for instructions!

(I'm adding this - I've gotten a few emails asking about the yeast.  I use instant yeast - but if all you have is the 'Red Star Active Yeast' - go ahead and try it.  You've not much to lose.  It might work just fine.  I haven't used that kind of yeast in a few years, and I've never tried making it with that yeast...but don't let that stop you from trying. 
: -)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And You Think You Gots Problems

This might not be a good idea.
Kinda like walking in a blizzard.
I'm in my almost 3pm fog.
I feel like I'm getting sick, but I know it's just from dusting today.
The dust allergy that plagues me seems to be worsening.
I may have to live in a bubble soon.
A real bubble - unlike the mental and emotional bubble that I reside in now.
So, if you don't hear from me, that's where I've gone.
In a bubble.

So, I'm sitting here in my kitchen, at the island, watching the cursor blink, and I'm not sure how to start this.
You see - it's these 'real' blog posts that make me feel downright vulnerable.
Cause I know there are so many of you out there that have REAL problems.
Real ones, like cancer, and foreclosure, and divorce.
Due to the mental bubble I try to stay in - my problems tend to be more like 'gee, the Swiss chard doesn't look too good at the market today' and 'golly, there's an awful lot of chicken poop on the backporch'.
So, I apologize for my problems - but because they are my problems - they seem big.
And, in reality - they are.

Remember my quote by Ralph Marston - 'In every frustration, there is a seed of opportunity'.
I've decided to ACT on my frustrations.

Let's get down to it, I'm just gonna spill the beans.
There are three things driving me right up and batty of late.

The Boychild.

If you are a new reader to the blog - you might not understand the close relationship I've had with my nephew since birth.
It's like he's my own.

He has the nerve to grow up.
He has the nerve to make his own decisions.
Some of his decisions have caused me to lose sleep.
One day - and I'm not being dramatic - I couldn't speak.
I couldn't.
I couldn't utter a word.
For hours.
Me, Jayme - rendered speechless.
It's not like he's doing anything completely out of the ordinary.
I guess he's being a teenager - it's just that I have no reference point.
It's just that I've babysat the punk full time since he was 2 - and was completely in love.
For the last two years I homeschooled him - and honestly - they were the best two years of my life.
I adored our 'Lattes and Literature'.
Drinking caramel lattes in the dappled sun on the couch.
I loved our science experiments, and our 'Field Trip' days.
I loved how we laughed until we cried every single day, and had 'Opera Days' and 'British Accent Days', where you couldn't speak unless you sang it, or spoke in a British accent.
I miss teaching him how to cook.
I miss talking to him about the future, and telling him he can do anything he sets his mind to.
I miss the smell of pencils, and hearing my sister's car tires on the gravel driveway every morning at 7.
It's all gone.
It all happened so fast, his decision to go to High school.
I've gone from having him 60 hours a week to 6.
All in all it wouldn't be bad if he was doing what I wanted him to do.
Please re-read that sentence.
That's what it really boils down to.
I've had to block him on Facebook.
My heart can't take his updates.
I can't control him.
I can't ground him, or address his behaviors in a way that have consequences.
I can talk to him. 
And I do.
He spent the night last night like he does every Wednesday night, and as I was tucking him in, he grabbed me, kissed me and told me he loved being here.
I live for those moments.
When we are together, it's still fabulous.  He treats me with respect.  He won't swear around me, and still acts, for the most part, like the Aaron I knew.
I worry about the bad decisions he's making and how school is just a social event.
I just worry.
And I gave up worrying on Dec. 2nd, 2010.  I did.
My default setting is love.  I will love no matter what, no matter how hard, no matter when it seems pointless.
I choose love.
I will live in peace.
It's just been an emotional roller coaster.

The Fact That I Can't Visit All Your Blogs.

Are you rolling your eyes yet?
This has plagued me since I start getting comments.
I don't have the time to respond to them all, or make rounds to all your blogs.
It really bothers me.
I want to, I just haven't the time.
I can't stand the thought of hurting someone's feelings.
If I have ever appeared rude to you, please forgive, k?
I know I'm horrible at returning emails too-I am so working on that.
You do know you can add me as a Facebook friend?  Right?


Here we go again.
I'm at the breaking point with my health.
My blood pressure is up.  I've always taken great pride in my perfect blood pressure.  Serious pride.  "Well, I'm overweight, but my BP is spot on".  My feet are numb alot, and I'm scared to have my sugar checked.  I hurt all over, I feel old, and I'm shocked at how I actually look.  (after seeing the recent videos).
I challenge you to strip down and take a pic of you in your underwear.
You might want to tank up on Prozac first.

Without going into too much detail, or sounding too crazy - I'm just going to say a few things.
I've struggled with this all my life.
If you want the full story of my pain, you can read some posts under 'Weight Loss Journey'.  If you have struggled with your weight at all, you might want to read it.

I truly think that now that the dust has settled, and Aaron is in school, and for honest-to-pete the first time in my life since adolescence, I have a choice in how my time is spent - I'm addressing things that I was able to sweep under the carpet of 'I'm too busy to think about that'.

I think the reason I haven't had lasting weight loss success is that when I lost weight in the past I would think 'well that takes care of that'.
And I know all too well the constant care and tweaking my garden needs, and now, I see myself the same.
It's never going to be 'over' or 'done'.

  I can honestly tell you that I feel that it is a cancer in my soul.
It affects my whole life.
When I had a toothache - I went to the Dentist.
When I had the flu - I went to the Doctor.
When our septic system fell to pieces, we called experts.

I'm such a do-it-yourself kinda gal, that seeking help to 'lose weight' seemed absurd.
It's just willpower, right?  It's just calories in and calories out.
Really, if it were that simple, we wouldn't be so disgusted with ourselves, now would we?

It went against every 'pink' bone in my body to hire someone to help me with this - but now that I have - I can't tell you the hope and joy I'm feeling.
I can assure you that I'm going to succeed.
(no pressure there Jaym)

Meet my Coach:

I think I'm going to start calling him 'Coach Fantastic'.
I'll be telling you a lot more about the program I'm doing very soon.
In all the attempts to lose weight - and the temporary successes I've had, I can honestly say that it's not even that much about the weight right now.  It's more about the inside.
I'm going to shrink on the outside, and grow on the inside.
It's about being excellent.
It's about conquering the mental side of the fight.
The mental side that says 'I'm not good enough', 'I don't deserve'.
I want to be an excellent person.  I want to have integrity, and treat myself as well as I try to treat others.

I don't feel guilty anymore for seeking out professional help.
I don't.
It was a VERY difficult decision, cause it seemed to counteract the decision I made to be debt free by July 4th, 2011.
And then I thought - what good is being debt free if I'm dead?
For the price of the blood pressure medication I needed - I get this.
I get a Coach that helps me dig through my drivel to the real issues that haunt me.
I get a Coach that points me to the truth, sees what I really am, and is helping me to be that person.
He works with you on a much deeper level that talking about carbs and cardio.
It's an investment in myself. 
And I STILL plan on being out of debt by July 4th.

And the kicker?
I joined what he calls a "Transformation Bootcamp"
It lasts for six months.
Think Biggest Loser here.

If I 'win' - beating out 49 other gals in the program, I win.....


For reals!
And guess when the winner gets the money - July 4th. 
Pressure? ha!
There's no backing out now, no slacking.
I'm in.

So, you see, really - in retrospect, I haven't any problems.  I'm going to give Aaron room to grow up (you know - all that baloney about 'letting it go' mmmhmm) and I'm choosing peace.  I'm CHOOSING peace.  (He actually just called me whilst I was typing this, telling me he loved me and he wants to spend the night again since he's off school tomorrow!)

I'm officially and seriously addressing my weight issues.

Problems seem easier to handle when you are facing them.
I'm no quitter.

(I'm feeling confident that my hair will cooperate and tomorrow I'll post the first in the Bread Making Video Tutorials!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ask the Coop Keeper Version 6.0

I can't believe I completely forgot to finish this series.
I had no idea y'all would have so many questions, so perhaps it's best that we broke it up by about five months!

I'm talking about my 'problems' tomorrow - which are really no longer problems, since I've found the solutions, but nonetheless, I'll talk about them.
Cause I like to talk.
And - Thursdays seem like good days to talk about serious things.
Friday I will do the first of many yeasty bread video tutorials...if my hair is a wreck, I'm wearing a hat. 

If your satellite is out, and you find yourself in an empty room with no other means of entertainment, you might want to go back and read the first few posts.

Glenda, Jayme, Vivian and Cindy
circa 197? - this was supposed to be a Dorothy Hamil cut. 

Let's get right to it.
I'm interspersing some really embarrassing photographs from the 70's and 80's of myself.
Cause it's funny.
And I wanted to prove to you that I had hair issues.
And, I really needed help picking out glasses.

Me in the kitchen, embroidering, 1975?  I don't know....but really?  Those glasses?  Oh dear God...

I only wish my High school yearbooks hadn't been lost in the move to this old house.
My freshmen picture was so frightful, I'm surprised I had any friends at all during school.

Aaron tells me I just don't try hard enough.

Giving a speech in 1975 - Grammar school graduation.  I was channeling Benjamin Franklin even then.

OK...we begin with Question #50, which seems like a great place to start this again:

JessiHarri said...
Hi! I nearly peed my pants when you commented on my blog (which I clearly give no attention)! I have to know, don't your chickens poo in your house when you let them inside? Also, I keep wondering why my chickens are afraid of me. I have tried to pick them up and love on them (my arms look like a person who cuts themselves)but they really just like each other. When I come in the coop they freak out. What have I done wrong? Do I need to raise them as chicks to get them to call me mama?
Well, I'm glad you just nearly peed your pants, I'd hate to be responsible for that mess!
Ahhh...the great chicken poo question.  Let me answer it the best I can.  When the chicks are babies, they are up in the house until they are old enough to go out - six weeks or so, and yes, they poo - but they are contained..and I just have to clean up that mess, which isn't fun.  Helen, my favorite hen, was in the house quite alot, cause she was ailing so much.  I diapered her.  Oh, yes.  I did.  Here's the link to prove it.  I did let her walk about without a diaper at times, and well - she pooped, and it freaked me out.  I didn't have a minutes peace when she was freewheeling around the house.  I had papers put all over the floor - but really?  That's just plain disgusting.  I have a small cage that I keep whatever chicken it is that I'd like to have in the house for a bit.  I DO think it makes a difference if you raise them from chicks and handle them a lot.  I handle my birds ALOT.  I kiss them.  Oh yes.  I do.  I'm very calm when I'm around them and I think they sense that too.  No sudden moves.  I talk to them the whole time, and I'm sure it doesn't hurt that I usually have a treat or two to give them.  Like anything - it takes time and patience.

I'm thinking I was 12.  I remember this shirt like it was yesterday.  Did I have ANY parental supervision?  Why did I look this way?  I broke my tooth in half after I fell down a flight of stairs, going to snitch on my sister for calling me a 'fugly'.  I can't say I entirely blame her, after seeing this photo.

Red Gate Farm said...

This is so fun, loved reading all the questions...I'd like to know, what is the farthest (from home) place you've ever been to? And have you ever been to the Pacific Northwest?

I'm in NW Indiana.  Without looking at a map, I guess I'd have to say that Los Angeles/Southern California is the farthest...unless..wait - the Florida Keys?  Juarez, Mexico?  I'm not sure which one is further, but that's the furthest.  If I don't get to Italy one day, I'm not sure that life will be complete.  I have also yearned deeply to get to the Pacific Northwest!  And Vermont, and Canada.
I really do hope to travel more in the upcoming years.  Like anything, you have to plan for it, and I've not proven myself to be a very good planner.

Oh, I remember this night.  New Year's Eve 1980.  I was ready for some devilment.  Why did my hair have such wings? Please take note of the macrame candle in the lower left.

Patty said...

Your gardens are so pretty. Do you have any help with them? How much time do you spend out there keeping in such beautiful shape? Okay that was two but they are on the same subject...on more. Do you were that cute hat to garden in? Hugs, Patty

Thanks Patty!  I do take pride in my gardens, and no, really, I have no help with them.  Glen will get out there and dig a big hole for me if I'm having trouble, or help me lift something, but other than that - it's just me.  I enjoy it.  How much time?  Hmmm.....every waking moment?  Ha!  It seems like it at times.  I guess since it's a labor of love, I don't mind so much.  I have a schedule for my yard work - certain areas on certain days, so it helps me keep up with it.  It could get overwhelming if I didn't break it down into manageable chunks.   And yes, I DO wear a cute hat in the garden!  I worry about the sun on my hair and face too much.

This had to be early 1980.  I discovered 'Sun In' for my hair, and it was orange like this for years.
Turtle mom said...

1. If you could live ANYWHERE in the US, where would you live? 2. If you won the lottery tomorrow, how would your life change? 3. May I come live with you? I love your blog, your little farm, your chickens...

Such a great question!  #1 - VERY difficult to answer.  I'm very grounded here in NW Indiana with my friends and family, and even though my family makes me crazy half the time, I couldn't up and leave them.  The winters are getting ridiculously long here, or I'm just getting older - but I would really miss the four seasons if I lived too far west, or south.  I love snow, thunderstorms and fall...good God..fall!  Who could live somewhere without a good fall?  I would love somewhere a little hillier - it's awfully flat around here, until I start walking or riding my bike, then it's hilly.  #2 - If I won the lottery? I'd travel alot.  I'd give the majority of it away.  I might even live in the same house.  Not sure...but maybe.  I'd love a dining room though, and another bathroom, and a closet or two, and maybe a tad of insulation.  #3.  Absolutely you can.  Can you lift over 50 lbs?  Do you cotton to early risings?  If the answer to those two questions are yes...then please...come on!

7th Grade.  1978.  I was in LOVE with John Denver.
That's all I'm saying about that.
Am I a natural red head?  I don't even remember.

Anonymous said...

Could you please please do a blog post about your makeup routine? I am asking this after I saw the picture you posted for October 17 You are looking good!! How do you get rid of the under eye bags the rest of us struggle with? Love your blog, please keep it up.

OK, I have to be honest.  I seriously thought this was a joke comment.  I even emailed a couple of my friends asking them if they'd done this.  But, I'll answer it like it was real....ummm...I don't really have one.  I'm not much into the whole makeup thing - mainly, it's time consuming, and although my hair is dyed, I don't like much of the 'fakeness' about a lot of makeup, fake fingernails and body parts I wear mascara and lip gloss, and if I'm really getting gussied up, I'll put on a little eyeshadow and blush.  I do think that I have good skin, and truly I do believe that a lot of it is genetics.  My mom had great skin and never looked her age.  I don't wash my face.  I don't.  Well, not with anything other than water and a washrag.  I don't use exfoliators, etc.  I have this 'idea' in my head that it all strips the natural oils that you were born with.  I don't have oily skin though - I have very fine pores and balanced skin.  Again - genetics.  I don't use any moisturizers that have alcohol in them, and if you look at the ingredients in your moisturizer, I betcha there's alcohol.  That's like drinking salt water if you are thirsty!  I make my own skin moisturizer (of course I do) and I am actually in the process of bottling it and packaging it, in the hopes to start a little side business.  For eye puffiness, nothing a good night's sleep shouldn't cure, but in a pinch I put cold spoons on my eyes.

Whew!  It's done~!  All 50+ questions answered.
Thank you SO much, I really enjoyed this!

1984.  Newly married.
Love changes everything.
I don't look too geeky.
My eyes were full of love.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Navel is Clean


I fear my tongue in cheek post was misinterpreted yesterday.
I was happy!
I was smiling!
I just wasn't feeling 'Valentine's Day'. 
It's a very mood driven holiday for me - sometimes I care, sometimes I don't.
Unlike Christmas, Thanksgiving and Labor Day - which must be celebrated with reverence and joy every year whether you are feeling it or not.
I wrestled with that post all the live long day yesterday.
I don't like being misunderstood.

I must announce this, and announce it now.
I'm a real live flesh and blood person.
That's really me in that picture.
Yes, I'm fabulous, and I wear an apron and have dewy skin and live in a wonderful old farmhouse with pretty gardens and fluffy chickens.
But I'm real.
And there are days I hurt.
And there are days I'm blah.
And there are days that I'm lazy and down right ugly.
I didn't make my bed Sunday.
And I contradict myself and I make no sense and I make stupid decisions.
And I type run on fragmented sentences that would make my high school English teacher cringe.
I'm not photoshopped or airbrushed.
I'm not a 'blog only the good parts' kinda blogger.
So there we have that.

With all of that said - yes - I've been angsty.
Yes - I've been sad.

Yes, I've been listening to sad songs and conjuring up tears.
I chose not to push it away with seed catalogs and lattes, but to examine it.
Why? Cause I'm human.  And I like talking about my feelings, ad nauseum.
And I like starting sentences with and.
I've chosen to look at a couple of losses that I feel I've experienced in the last few months.
And, that's OK.
For every ounce of 'outgoingness' in me, or silliness, there's just the same amount of 'introspectiveness'.
I think I'm making up words.
Good news is, my belly button's all clean.
I'm done navel gazing.

I'm going to share those two things with you this week.
After you read them - you'll say with your best Yiddish accent - 'oy, for those problems!'

I'm also planning a bread video tutorial - if my hair cooperates.
Every man, woman, girl and boy should know how to make a decent loaf of bread.

I plum forgot about it and haven't answered quite a few of the questions you asked.

I leave you with this today.

In every frustration, there is a seed of opportunity.
Ralph Marston

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Indeed

Last year, I was all up in Valentine's grill.
Flour was flying, chocolate was drizzling and romance was in the air.

This Valentine's Day?
I'm mopping floors and making Stuffed Cabbage.
Does Stuffed Cabbage sound romantic?
I didn't think so either.

I'm dark and twisty - or trying to be.

I used to try so hard to be 'angsty' as a young girl.
I wore thick black eyeliner.
My hair was pink and green at times.
(yes, I even had hair issues then!)
I walked alone with my Sony Walkman near the frozen lakeshore in Chicago with 'Love Reign O'er Me' by The Who on the highest volume.
Probably why I'm hard of hearing today.
I tried to be moody and sad.
It seemed romantic to me.
I read sad poems, and listened to sad music and bought small bottles of rum at a liquor store that wouldn't card a toddler.
I drank alone.
I played the guitar.

Oh...I tried.

I needed a yin to my yang.
A bitter to my sweet.

Truth be told - I just couldn't do it.
I just couldn't conjure consistent angst.
I saw too much beauty about.
I loved daisies.
And sunshine.
And being happy felt much better.
But I was a teenager.
And being angsty was cooler.
I was doomed to be a nerd.

This past week, I've been revisiting my 'angstwannabe'.
I want to sip wine and look out the window and listen to songs that make me cry.
I want to feel loss and pain and heartache.
Why in the world?
I haven't a clue.
I've been much too happy lately, and it's annoying.
I see hope everywhere and it's getting on my nerves.

So this Valentine's Day - I'm boycotting love.
Oh yes.
I am.
It only seems fitting.
Like wearing jeans to church on Easter.
I'm a rebel.
With a cause.

Glen's getting Stuffed Cabbage.
There shall be no chocolate going on around here today.
I'm wearing blue.
There's nothing heartshaped in the house.
I shant allow it.

And yet, all the while as I type this - I'm smiling.
Ding dang it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rumors of My Demise...

I thought I'd better let y'all know I'm still alive and kicking!
Thanks for all your emails and notes asking if I was ok....
I've spoiled you with the frequent blog posts, didn't I?

I'm fine.
Feeling rather quiet and drivel-less lately.
I know.
I didn't think it was possible either.
Been extra busy too.

That cat's got my tongue.

Better than this one:

I'll be back very soon.
Thanks for missing me.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Once Upon a Time - There Was a Man Named Ben...

I find myself daydreaming about Ben again today.
I can't help but to think what an unstoppable force the two of us would have been.
All the little journals and ideas - laying away late at night scheming and planning.
A true soul mate.
I would have loved to know him when he was young - what a whirlwind romance we would have had.

If you didn't read about my love of Benjamin Franklin a while back, you can do so
A few of you asked how this infatuation came about - and I'm here to fill you in on the love story.

I was 26
He was 283.
I've always liked older men.

I was newly married - and I know it's hard for you to believe this - given the domestic nirvana that I crank out around here on a daily basis....

I hadn't a CLUE how to keep house, cook or anything for that matter.

I could paint my nails reallllly good.
I had good makeup skills.
I was a good sleeper.

I never made a bed until I got married.
For reals.

There was never any clean underwear in the drawer.
Ask Glenco - he'll verify it.
He wore my panties to work one day, after I insisted.
It was a new job - and he got called to go for a physical.
And he had on my panties.
True story.

I had two.
Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans or Spaghetti and Meatballs.
And I cooked them while I slammed the pots and pans around mad that "I" had to cook - cause by golly I worked too.

You mean the house isn't self-cleaning?
It seemed so my entire childhood.
Glen reminded me often that I needed to pick up after myself, that my mom didn't live with us.

There was a lot of frustration about the house.
Resentment was there too.
If I wasn't careful - bitterness would be up and knockin' at the door.

I went from the frying pan into the fire when we moved to this ramshackle old house in 1988.
I was undone.
And I wasn't even perimenopausal.
I went from a tiny apartment in the city, with NO yard, to a 140 year old dilapidated farmhouse with three acres.
I NEVER pulled a weed in my life.

It was right about then that I couldn't stop thinking about Benjamin Franklin for some odd reason.
I mean - it was WEIRD.
Finally - I went to the library and checked a few books out about the old boy.

It was within those pages of the ancient text (I know - I'm dramatic), that I found so many practical answers to life.

I was a lazy girl.
I was spoiled.

He was not.
He was industrious, and introspective, and brave and had moxie.
He wasn't afraid of hard work and I was.

And was in those pages of his 'Poor Richards Almanacks' that I fell in love.
I drank him up like a Diet Pepsi on a tired Monday morning.

My heart still skips a beat when I think of the first time I read his daily schedule:

I felt like it was the answer I'd be looking for.
But not perfection.
That's impossible (just look at my hair for cryin' out loud).

I instituted this schedule and slowly but surely, I started getting my life under control.
(Many people misread this and think he only slept from 1am til 5am - please notice the brackets)

And in that order, I found peace.
And my friends - peace ain't somethin' you can pick up at the Walmarts, so I've been incredibly grateful to Benji F. for the last 20+ years.

I know there are many of you reading this right now, that feel the way I did in 1988, and I just wanted to tell you today that there is hope!
Never give up.
You CAN change your world.
Me and Ben...we'll be here cheering you on.

Friday, February 4, 2011

This Just In....

I know I'm being completely vain - and I'm willing to admit it.
This danged video has been bothering me all day - not THIS one that you are about to see, but the post from earlier today.
My hair.
My blubber.
I'm quite hormonal.
In fact, the pre and the post mentrual are blending together into a seamless hormonal perfect storm.
Look at me and smile.
I'll cry.
Look at me like your mad -
I'll cry.
Look at me -
I'll cry!

Oh I love being 49.  Love it.

Thought I'd post a video of what I 'think' I look and sound like - did you ever have that - 'your reality' is so different than your reality?

I've always fancied myself Rosemary Clooney.
Not the thinnest gal in the movie...a supporting actress instead of the lead - Mrs. Kravitz, not Laura Petrie, Rhoda, not Mary.
And I've been ok with that.

                                     You have no idea how many times I've practiced this song!


Oh, I've got it down.
But all along - I should have been practicing this.... 

Now please don't go leaving nice comments, or mean ones.
Cause I'll cry.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blizzard Cam 2011

It done be happened just like they say it gonna do!
We be havin' a blizzard!

I'm not going to say much on this post - I'll just let the videos and the photos do the talking - but I have to say, that I laughed until I cried when I watched this second clip...

The Donner Party?  No hope?
I'm 50' from the house!




I made it!

My favorite picture


My neighbor Danielle

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Mother's Sacrifice

The video I made the other day has me feeling so sentimental.
I'm missing my mother like ca-razy.
There's so much I need to know.
So much advice I need!
I need!!

Does anyone reading this here old blog remember
The Great Chicago Blizzard of 1967?

Just so happens that it was my fifth birthday.
I still get excited when it snows on my birthday.

Today I'm hunkered and preparing for a storm that is supposed to rival the storm from 1967.
They are calling for 50 mile an hour winds, two plus feet of snow...good times.
I've got my red pot fired up with Paula Deen's Beef Stew.
 I'm channeling Paula now. 
Words out on the street about how much butter I use.
She's nervous.
She should be.

All through my chores today, I can't stop thinking about my mom, and my birthday, and that big snow storm.

For some reason, unbeknownst to me - something I'd love to ask her now - she was out in that blizzard getting my birthday present from 'Bargain Town' - later known as Toy's R Us.

Why did she wait until my birthday to get the gift?
Did she need to wait until payday?
Did she figure she had plenty of time, and she'd just hop on the bus and go get it whilst we were all in school?

There were no Doppler radars in 1967 were there?
She didn't know the snow was going to be so bad.

She was stranded in South Chicago for hours.

I remember the phone ringing a lot that afternoon, no doubt neighbors worried about her, calling, and I would answer and say 'I'm five years old and my mom is at Bargain Town' - and I'd hang the phone up.

I don't remember what my birthday gift was, but here - 44 years later, I am acutely aware of the sacrifice in the getting of that gift.

I'm acutely aware of the sacrifices my mom made on a daily basis.

I'm acutely aware that to love is to sacrifice.

It's to sacrifice trust and hope that you'll be loved back.

It's to sacrifice joy at times to grieve the choices a loved one makes.

It's to sacrifice your time and your money, and what seems to be your very soul.

Michigan Ave bus stop

Today my heart feels like it's right on that bus to South Chicago with my mom.

Full of strangers and fear, not knowing how bad the storm of life is going to be.

Oh for a Doppler radar of the future!

But sit on that bus I do, and I hold onto the handrail of faith, pulling on the call cord of joy, and getting off at the stop of hope.

And I walk through the steep hills of snow toward home, clutching the gift of sacrifice, and hoping that 44 years from now - my gift of sacrifice will be remembered and treasured as much as my mother's is.