Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January in Review

I'm reposting this from one year ago today.
I KNEW January jilted me last year too.
I have a confession.
The upstairs bedroom remains the same, I'm still not out of debt, still having dental issues - I swear - nothing has changed in ONE WHOLE YEAR! 
Except I've lost 80lbs and now only use about a half a pound of butter a month.
Hey - that's a great change - I'll take it.

Get this.
Aaron might be coming back to homeschool.
We are calling a family meeting.
If you could see my face right now...oh if you could just see it.
I'm Beaming with a capital B.

Oh - and rest assured that there shan't be any culling or killing up around in these parts.
Foolishness talking yesterday!  Foolishness!

And now - the repost from one year ago today.
Warning - drivel ahead.
Refill your coffee cups...this might take a while.

I know the majority of you are ready to kiss January goodbye...

I on the other hand, am not.
I feel like January jilted me.
It barely got started, and it was over.
It laughed at my plans and made plans of it's own.
Stupid January.

Did I take one photo outside the house this month?
These are pages from my 2007 scrapbook phase.
I'm a phase kinda girl.

Look at Aaron's teeth in this one.
I miss those teeth.
I'm planning on doing a post about the boy child this week - it's been so long since I've updated you with all of his shenanigans and devilment.

Oh I had big plans for January.
Big plans to finish up that upstairs bedroom.
Remember that mess?
(if you don't, you can click on the label 'Decorating with the Coop Keeper' and view the related posts)

I got a few things done...here's a bit of a sneak preview...

The bed skirt falling off and the tag on the quilt is a nice touch, isn't it?
And what's that you say...that picture hanging over the bed looks awfully high, and 'sideways'?
Why yes, yes it is.
I have plans to fix the bedding...of course...
And the bed is going up on risers, to be higher, ergo, I hung the picture where I wanted it to be when the bed is up....and I'm planning on doing an embroidery stitchery in the frame of that old print I no longer want.
I did get the bed painted though, and I'm oh so happy with it now.
Sorta kinda.

Stupid January.

Here's another view...

I'm not really big into Teddy Bears anymore - but I bought this mohair one during my
Teddy Bear phase (do you see a pattern here?) and it was so expensive, I haven't the nerve to discard it.
So here he sits, mocking me - reminding me of my dysfunction.
Stupid January.

I had plans of working on my dollhouse.
I finally got it put in it's final resting place.
I found a neat old dresser - beat to heck - on Craig's List for next to nothing back in November.
Finally got it painted, and the dollhouse fits perfectly.

A little elbow grease......
A little paint I had in the basement....

And bingo...
the dollhouse has a spot, and I have more storage
I'm realizing the dollhouse will be a life long project.
I didn't bother fixing the chips off a couple of the drawer corners, I felt it gave it character
 (translate - I was lazy).
I have no idea what I'm doing with the things on the wall there.  I'm just trying to use what I have-I thought some flowers in the basket would be pretty.
I'm not really inspired yet for the walls.

Stupid January.

I've made two rugs this month, and Saturday, I took all the warp off the loom to restring it - it was a tangled mess.  I'm new to this, and I know there's a learning curve....I also hadn't realized what a dusty affair this was, and I feel like I have a good case of Weaver's Lung.  I'm going to have to start using a dust mask when I weave.

Stupid January.

That wall there looked plain.  That's the side of the bed I've slept on for the last 20 years.
I can't be trusted near the alarm clock, I will just turn it off and go back to sleep.
We learned that the hard way.
Since the clock is on the dresser - I got the wall side.
Due to some hormonal fluctuations during the night - it's become a bit of a burden to sleep next to the wall  - oh, not for me!  For Glenco.

I had a couple of cans of spray paint to return to Lowe's and I exchanged them for the brackets.
I'm not completely in love with it, but it'll work.
I got the mirror at a yard sale for $2 years ago.
I love old beat up stuff!


The Pink Chicken Update....

Well, in case you didn't notice - or figure it out - I have the Internet at home again.
I'm sorry if I've disappointed you!  I tried - Good GOD I tried.
I was fine the first week.  I loved not having it - I loved the library.
The second week - my schedule was all catty-wompus and I got to the library on the wrong day, and it was a mess - the third week, I found a rogue wi-fi signal in the house and spent the better part of the day contorting my body to keep the signal as it roamed through the house like a ghost taunting me with it's connectivity.
Last week I called AT & T.

Total spent on groceries for the month:

This included cat food, toilet paper, and various toiletries, iceberg lettuce heads for the chickens, and we had people over for supper twice.
I cleaned my pantry and freezer out.
I can't say that I have any great 'money saving' tips for you right now - other than to eat less.
Ha!  You think I'm jesting.
I really cut back on the snacks....and I didn't buy any sodas.
I shopped sales and we had a few meatless meals.
It's just the two of us, most meals would last a couple of days for us.

For the entire month of January - I only spent $14 that wasn't essential.
On what?
A fancy latte and a margarita.
They involved social situations, and I deemed them worthy.

The dentist bill was an unexpected expense of $900, but I was still able to reduce our total debt by 8% this month, and I'm happy for that. By this time next month I should have ONE bill left to pay off.

Being vigil about the finances has been eye-opening.
Even when you 'think' you are watching - little leaks spring up everywhere if you aren't careful.

Being a Pink Chicken doesn't mean that you are a tightwad, or a cheapskate - it means that you put a value on things - and perhaps you value a family vacation more than spending $100 or more a month eating out.
Perhaps you value your time at home more than you value a new car or clothes.
It's all about choices people.

And now a confession.
In the month of January, I bought 10 pounds of butter.
I just checked and I have one pound left.
I feel like I could throw up thinking about it.
I'm calling the cardiologist as soon as I finish this post.
I had NO idea I used that much butter.
Move over Paula Deen!
I spend more on butter than I do my wi-fi!
So, I shall try to do with five pounds for the month of February.
I. will. try.

I will just have to kiss my dreams of a Butter Benjamin Franklin sculpture good-bye.

Are you still with me!?
What a trooper.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about the chickens.

This is "Tales from the Coop Keeper" after all....

The girls are bored y'all.
This is the gloomiest January in my memory, and for some reason that will absolutely not come out of the chicken run unless it's sunny out - so they just sit there.
I've been putting heads of lettuce out there for them to play with - and next I'll tie some CD's on strings to entertain them.
They like shiny things - just like we do.

If you do not have chickens, and you want chickens...you might not want to read this - cause you will probably NOT want chickens after you do.

Remember Sissy?
My favorite banty hen eva?

OK - this isn't as UNCOMMON as you think...
well...she was the only banty in the coop....
and they used to pick on her....
they picked on her to death.
And then ate her...halfway.

I know I know!
I can't say anymore about it.
It's horrible.
Chickens are animals people!!
Even though I try to humanize them, and give them names and teach them to knit and help them memorize poetry, they are omnivorous cannibals!!

With that lovely thought - I shall end this post.

Be happy today.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Great Stirring

Has your winter been going as planned?

I had visions.
Visions of simmering.
Visions of knitting needles clacking.
Visions of cozy times with tea and library scented books.
Visions of the oil lamps lit at night, and a sense of quiet and calm.
I planned a lot of time in this chair.

I've had glimpses of moments like that - but here it is pert near February.
Time's a running out on me!
There has been something quite different about the sun shining lately - you can feel it stirring the earth back to life.  You can see the different slant of the sun in the sky and it's got me thinking about seeds and chicks and the barbecue grill.
I just feel this stirring inside.
I'm excited, and overwhelmed.

If I remember correctly - January jilted me last year too.

Soon - very soon - bootcamp starts and I'm a Coach in training - I'm not even sure what that all will entail - but I'm sure it will take time.

Soon - very soon - it will be time to make a decision for REAL about raising meat birds - and even if I decide not to raise meat birds - I have to decide what to do with my aged flock that nary gives us an egg or two a day.  Common sense would say it's time to cull.  Glenco says we need a fresh flock cause he ain't feedin' birds for nothin'.
If I do decide to raise meat birds, I have to get the area all ready.
And - well - I have to learn about raising meat birds and choose a breed, and decide on feed - and find a place to butcher them - cause I ain't having that devilment here in my yard!

Soon - very soon - I will have to start building a couple more bee hives and continue praying that the bees I have now will overwinter for another month or two.
I'm trying to come up with a name for my little bee business - and I have to design a label, etc.

Soon - very soon - like next week I'm supposed to be meeting with the Small Business Bureau about starting up a real, legitimate business for the skin serum.

Soon - very soon - I need to begin the projects that I'd planned on finishing this winter!

Today I began my 'action phase' again - to get the last of this blubber off - being able to run a 5K in it's entirety, build my endurance and start getting some real muscles.

When I think of it all - I just really want to crawl back in bed.
I want to pick up the remote and grab a bag of potato chips.

I get a bit overwhelmed.
Nitrous - take me away.

I've got two more toothaches.
Can you believe it?
I don't know what's going on.

One is hurting so bad at the moment that it has it's own heartbeat and the eye over it is twitching.
I can't chew well on either side of my mouth.
I have knots under my jaw bone.


Will I ever get outta debt?

What's overwhelming you today?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bootcamp, Beefstew and Beseeching

I have had one heck of a busy weekend.
I've spent the better part of the day planning meals, grocery shopping and washing fruits and veggies.
Guess what I ended up getting for my birthday?


I've sliced and chopped my fool head off today.
I even made some dough.
With wheat!
For Glenco.

My fruits and veggies are resting comfortably in the fridge all prepped and ready for me this week.

I wanted to share the Beef Stew recipe with you.
Certainly - it was my favorite beef stew recipe, thus far.
Perhaps it was the mood I was in whilst cooking it - perhaps it was the celery root, perhaps it was the humanly raised, grass fed beef - I behoove you to try it and let me know what you think.
This isn't a picture of the actual stew -
photo from eating clean diet website

But this is the actual recipe I used.
: -)

The Best Danged Beef Stew Evah

1.25lbs of beef stew meat
1 tsp smoked paprika (I used regular)
1/2 scant teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon oil (I used a bit less)
1/2 large white onion, chopped
Large pinch dried thyme
Large pinch dried rosemary
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (I used quick cooking tapioca)
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar - divided
2 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth (I used beef broth)
2 bay leaves
1 cup chopped, peeled carrots
1 1/2 cups potato chunks (I used red potatoes)
1 cup of peeled, cubed celery root chunks (try not to substitute or eliminate this)
2 large portobello mushroom caps, cut into 1" chunks
3/4 cup of frozen peas

Pat beef dry with paper towel and sprinkle with paprika, salt, cayenne and black pepper.  In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat oil on medium high.  Add beef and cook, undisturbed for two to three minutes.  Flip beef and repeat on opposite side.
(original recipe said to do this in two batches.  I ask you, who has time for that?  I did it in one.)
Remove beef and place on a large plate.
Add the onion to the pot and cook about six minutes, til lightly browned.  Reduce heat to medium low and add thyme, rosemary, tomato paste and garlic.
Mix well.  Return beef and any accumulated juices to the pot.
Sprinkle with flour and cook for one minutes - stirring constantly.
Add 2 T of the vinegar and simmer for one minute.  Add broth and bay leaves.
Cover and increase heat to medium high.  Once it begins to simmer, reduce it to medium low, and maintain a slow, steady simmer.

Cover and cook for an hour and fifteen minutes - stirring about three times.

Add carrots - simmer for thirty minutes more.
Add potatoes, simmer for 10 minutes.
Add celery root, cover and simmer til all is tender - about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, coat a large skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium high.  Slap those mushrooms in there and the remaining 2 T of vinegar, and a pinch of salt and black pepper.
Cook three to five minutes, stirring frequently.  Continue cooking until mushrooms are tender and all liquid is almost completely reduced, about three minutes.

Add peas to the pot.
Cook about 2 minutes, add mushrooms and remove from heat.
Remove bay leaves and serve.

Worth every minute.
One and a half cups of beef stew has 386 calories, 10 g fat, 32 carbs, and 35 protein.

The last thing I wanted to mention tonight is Bootcamp.
Tomorrow is the day.
Sign ups.
If you don't sign up tomorrow - you probably won't get in.
I'm beseeching you to give it a little more thought.

Click here and give my interview a listen.
You can access the link to sign up for the early bird email there too..

I wish I could somehow convey to you what a difference this program has made in my life.
I finally admitted that I couldn't do it on my own.
I liken it to the dentist, or going to the doctor for a needed surgery.
I wouldn't in a million years try to fill my own tooth - or give myself surgery.
I feel that being overweight for so long, and all of the emotional baggage I carried from it - was like a cancer on my soul.
I admitted I needed help.
I got it.
It was worth every dime, and even more.
If you are just sick and tired of being sick and tired - if you are just at the end of your rope of 'trying it on your own' or other programs that don't seem to work for you.
It's not just calories in, calories out.
You aren't broken.
You can succeed.
You aren't too old, you aren't too young.
You aren't too busy either.
There's no perfect time to change.
Now's your chance.
Right now.

Many of you will be glad to know that after today I won't be mentioning it again!

Sign ups are tomorrow - the program starts on February 8th.
I'll be helping coach.
Nothing would make me happier than to help you succeed.
For real.

Please email me if you have any questions at all!

My goal for Bootcamp this go around is to lose another 20lbs.
I want to build some serious muscle and build my endurance.
I plan on rocking 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and possibly 100.
Gettin' old ain't for sissies baby.

Move over Betty White -

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Post With No Name

I'm clean out of names for this post.
How in the Sam hill do I begin to thank you for all of your wonderful wishes!?
I loved reading them all - in fact, I read them each more than once and it just put such a smile on this 'old' gals face!

Shall I list my gifts?

Brooks running shoes - custom fit from Glenco. Swoon worthy.
Now I have to do something to honor those shoes!
An electric tea pot from Aaron - cutest thing ever - red - adorable and the boy knows I'm having a serious love affair with tea.

A Spiderman belly ring from my cousin Jim.  Uber cool!
Dinner out from my fab friend Donna.  Thanks girl!
Flower arrangement from my bosom friend Gina - a shopping trip and a new outfit to come - after I lose this last ten pounds!
Tomorrow night out with my sis and new brother in law - dinner and more fabulous gifts to come (according to Aaron).
Something handmade from my dear friend Renee - to come.
A personal workout with my Coach and a vintage apron from my New Zealand kindred spirit Fiona.
The crazy hat you see in my pic from my Boot Camp buddy Laura.
I even got an beautiful card and key chain from a blog reader Lisa!
Thanks Lisa!!!

My day ended up being nice and quiet.
I love me some quiet.

In between birthday phone calls, texts, flower deliveries and UPS gift deliveries (a girl can dream - although I did get one lovely bouquet delivered!) I got out me paint brushes.
Ever since I saw this picture on Pinterest - I've been a woman obsessed.

Pinned Image

I've got to do something similar in my office.
I want it to be a space where I just long to linger - and sew - and write - and create.

Because I have such a small, 'charming' home - my studio will have to be an office/craft room/pantry/storage area.
I'm OK with that.

Orange has been my new favorite color - and I had some orange paint - so this is what I did.  I'm not sure the photos are going to translate well here - but let's give it a go.
I didn't plan on 'decoupaging' when I painted it orange, it was just a fly by night decision - and after I did decoupage it - I wasn't happy with the orange - which is just really - whatever, aye?

I have to apologize for the photos in this post.  I actually took pictures of the process, had nice photos of the shelves without food so you could see the vintage recipe ads that I had decoupaged on the walls - and now they won't transfer to the computer.  I had to quickly take photos with my phone and then email them to myself just now, and well, honestly, I'm mortified at how terrible they are!
  It really looks MUCH cooler than this.

As you can see, I don't have much food in my pantry. 
Most of my food is fresh and in the fridge.
Please note that the canned goods - although sparse, are alphabetized.
Don't hate.
I have some rogue crackers left from Christmas dinner.
The chickens will probably end up with them.

I'm hoping to have this project done real quick like.
Glenco's been taking measurements for the desk, and I'm thinking about paint colors for the walls.

I cooked what possibly could be the best beef stew that ever was.
I bought some meat from Whole Foods on the way back from my weekend away (eek!  just realized I never posted pictures!  I'm so discombobulated!)
It was grass fed, humanly raised beef - and it tasted like the meat I remember as a kid.
I'm ruined.
How will I ever just buy beef at the regular store now!?
I have to share the recipe with you - it's from 'Clean Eating' magazine.

Picked Aaron up from school - which I normally only do on Wednesday when he spends the night - but he gave me the 'but I want to spend time with you today' spiel and I fell for it.
: -)

Enjoyed his company through dinner.
The child is amazing.
He's not all sullen up like I had worried he would be as a 16 year old.
He's charming.
He's affectionate.
He's super chatty.
He's quite mature in many ways, and immature in the ways that it seems he should be at this age.
And that's OK.
You've got to give the people you love room to grow - room to be themselves.
I love watching him blossom.

Pinned Image

After he left, I hunkered down with my lemon tart and my favorite polygamist family 'Big Love'.
Lord.  That show.
Talk about guilty pleasures.

I've got to get myself running now - so no more time to chat, and yet - so much more to chat about!
I want to share my two new recipes with you - and I want to encourage you that eating gluten free is EASY!  You can do it - and I would so encourage you to try it - you'd be surprised at how much better you'd feel.  Trust me, I was so hesitant to do it - because it was trendy - and I'm the furthest thing from trendy.  In fact, I'm quite rebellious.  If gluten free is the rage, then I'm eating some serious gluten!

I also wanted to remind you that my Coach's Boot camp sign up is MONDAY!
You only have a few more days to get signed up on the Early Bird Email List.
If you are sitting on the fence about this - and you want to join, but you are scared, or otherwise indecisive...please....email me your phone number and I will call you and talk to you.

It's life changing.  : -)

So much to say, so little time.
I'm literally bristling with thoughts and ideas and hopes and goals and assorted nonsense.
Bristling I tell you!

Til next time - be kind to each other.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Name is Sally O'Malley...

Today is 'the' day.
I'm 50.
I like to kick, and stretch- and kick....

Of course it doesn't feel a bit different than 49.

What do I want for my birthday?
It's different than Christmas.
I want presents baby!

I don't want cake - I don't want a fancy night out on the town - I don't want jewelry -

I want a big truckload of horse manure.
I want boxes of baby chicks and turkey poults.
I want trees and shrubs.
I want workout clothes and barbells.
I want a CrossFit membership and a bucket to puke in while I'm there.

I like where my life is going - but I want more.
I have felt a bit goal-less lately - a bit in limbo - and it's time for it all to change.
I know it sounds silly to say - but it feels like the clock is running faster and faster these days, and if I'm not careful I'll have some regrets.

Aaron is sleeping upstairs as I type this - it's almost time to wake him for school.
He's wanting to stay home today - says my birthday should be a National Holiday.
Nice try Aaron, nice try.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with today.
I thought of heading out and spending the day alone - going to my favorite places like JoAnn fabrics, Barnes and Nobles, and the gym.
I thought of calling a friend to spend the day with me.
I thought about making a gluten free Lemon Tart.
I thought about tearing apart my office and painting it.
Perhaps I should stay home so I can accept all of the flower and gift deliveries.
(Please email me if you need my address!)

Perhaps I'll have a conglomeration of it all.
One thing is for certain - tonight I will sit on the couch with Glenco, watch Season Five, Disk Two of Big Love and knit.
And eat lemon tarts.

One thing I know for sure - I want to sit down and get my head together.
I need a big goal to shoot for -
maybe another marathon or something.
I don't cotton to this willy nilly feeling I've had lately - no clear direction - just floating along.

I also need to finish up my 50 Random Acts of Kindness this week - I missed a few days when I was sick.
I need to tell you about that project.  I hate to use words like 'amazing and life changing' but it really was in so many ways.

Thank you for being here - thank you for all the laughs and encouragement you've given to me.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Death by Triangle Pose - A Greek Yogurt Tragedy

I know.
Today's post was supposed to be about my icy hiking trip.
Tomorrow - I promise.

After today's turn of events - I had no choice but to blog about this.

Yoga class.
The Yoga studio was kind enough to let me opt out of Boot camp and go to a Yoga II class on Tuesday mornings.
Namaste baby.

I'm still not quite over my illness, but I thought I'd be good to go.

Let me preface this by saying that I discovered this product recently:

Pretty balanced in carbs and proteins, I thought that they might make a good breakfast or snack while I was away.
I packed a cooler full.

Did I mention I was sick and feverish when I was packing?

If you've been around the blog long enough - you know I don't eat dairy.
You know that it makes me bloated, smelly, depressed, achy and promotes symptoms of menopause.
I just thought it would 'be ok' for a couple of days, and that I could deal with a little bloating.
I hate eating out every meal when I go away.

I ate six in the last few days.

I entered Yoga class today full of promise.
I unrolled my lovely mat and thought I was looking pretty good in my new yoga pants and tightly fitted v-neck 3/4 sleeve gray t-shirt.
My breasts looked good.
I'm just saying.
It was all smoke and mirrors and a good bra - but for all practical purposes - they were looking good.

My bare feet looked lovely as I sat in lotus pose waiting for class to begin.
There was peace, tinkling music and a lot of elderly people.

I was feeling it.

We started out by lying on a bolster 'opening our sternum'.
My breathing was seamless.
I was in the zone.
In my mind's eye I was lean and limber and entertained thoughts of becoming a yogi master and teaching this very class one day.
I imagined myself floating around the class so graceful - blabbering about chakras.
I decided I'd start listening to tinkling music at home, and burning incense, and talking softly and slowly - about important things.

Then we stood up.
I noticed every time I bent over, I felt quite faint.
Oh gosh - really faint.
Faint, like as in - I'm gonna faint.
And we kept bending over.
Over and over.

I thought maybe my ears were all plugged with snots and I'm just off balance.
Then I noticed a sensation that I've never felt before.
Skin aflame.
Slight heart palpitations.

I was in triangle pose and I was holding on to it for dear life.
I began to shake and I thought I was going to go down - right then and there - and sheer willpower - not wanting to be embarrassed kept me vertical.
For five more seconds.

Go down I did.
I tried to do it gracefully, and I think I did - but the yoga instructor came by to make sure I was OK.
I nodded 'yes, yes - just still perhaps a bit too sick to be out' is what I said - but I was hoping some how or another he heard 'I'm dying - call 911'.

I sat there trying to cool off, calm down and not vomit as I watched all the obese 75 year old women in the room holding the pose.  I was scolding myself sharply.
"Jayme!  Why didn't you take care of yourself when you were younger!?  Why did you go to Dairy Queen so much!?  Why don't you exercise more??  You can't even do 20 minutes of yoga without dying!"

It was right about then I realized what was happening.
Sure, I'm still a little sickly - but a triangle pose shouldn't kill me.
I did a half marathon for goodness sakes!
I lift weights!

It was a bloody hot flash.
An epic hot flash.
A Greek yogurt dairy inspired hot flash.

I've never felt one like it.

I was on fire.  I was dying.  I wanted to strip nude and run outside and find a dirty snow bank to roll in.  I wanted to puke and faint, and roll up in the fetal position.

After a couple of minutes I was able to get back up - and do the rest of the class with no trouble.
I left feeling refreshed, a little taller and much calmer.

Hot flashes.

Please tell me - how in the world do you endure them?

Endure them I won't.
I've not had one since I started eating clean, and I've never had one as bad as today - and I shan't be eating dairy again if that's the effect I'll get.


Monday, January 23, 2012

where is the love?

Right here baby.

Just in from my birthday extravaganza weekend....

I'll tell you all about it and slap up some pictures, most probably tomorrow.

Just wanted to share this picture with you.

Just found it on the camera.

Glenco snapped it last week.

Is he not the most beautiful boy you've ever done seen?

I think so too.

Friday, January 20, 2012

This That and Me Dad.

Looky what I got yesterday!

Here's the love train that brought it to me....

Sandy and Larry - she brought me some beautiful citrus too.
Oh, how I love citrus!!

I ate the wheat noodles - I had to believe that the love in the bowl cancelled out any negative effects.
I did have quite a belly ache last night though.
Worth it - I felt so loved.

This is all I accomplished yesterday.
I had books to read, but my head hurt too much to comprehend.
I do believe I have bronchitis and a side order of a sinus infection.

Wanted to give you an update on the burger.
It's not changing.
It's two weeks old today.
I keep seeing things on the interweb about McD's burgers - several years old that look just like mine.

I keep thinking I need to make a homemade burger for comparision.
I'm begging you to eat real food!

I wanted to say more about my father.

I had to say more.
I feel that I may have disrespected my beautiful father, and for my conscious sake - I need to say more.

My father was beautiful to behold.
He had a whole John Wayne vibe about him - and he was funny as heck.
He'd lose sleep over things like fussing at me for wasting paper, or when a stray cat that was hanging out by our back door went missing.
In fact - he had a dream about that cat, and that it was at a shelter - he went to the shelter and it was indeed there - he adopted it back out.
Goodness lived in that man's heart.
That's what's so sad about mental illness.  You can truly see that the real person is locked inside.

As I said in a previous post - I never knew my father to be anything but kind, peace loving and so extremely tender hearted toward us all.

The man took me to the Dairy Queen on Indianapolis Blvd. every single night after supper. 
 Just us two. 
 Large cone. 
Bring it Daddy! 
I have a stinkin' suspicion it's why DQ feels like love to me to this day.

He took one little brown pill a day that resembled an M&M and my mom kept them on the highest shelf in the pantry to keep us out of them.

He went for monthly counseling sessions.
He was really managing his illness well.

He was a carpenter at the steel mills on the South side of Chicago.
He used to holler out measurements in his sleep.
I still laugh thinking of it.
My mom said he'd grab her legs thinking they were two by fours while he'd holler out '4 and 3/4's'.
Now that's just funny - I don't care who ya are.

My father adored my mother, and my mother adored my father.
You know my mom - gracious - if you wanted to meet an incredible woman - look no further - she was incredible.  There's not enough that could be said about her goodness.
You know she never spoke a bad word to any of us about my father?

Truly it wasn't until 1988 when things started unraveling.
Mom noticed it right away - I just noticed dad seemed extra chatty.
There were happy times in between the hard times.

What I really wanted to share with you was this - a note that a dear friend - Peggy - sent to me after reading the blog.
Peggy was two years older than me - and really more of my sister's friend than mine - but she lived next door at was at our house often as a child.
We reconnected a few years ago when the local paper featured my blog and did an article about keeping backyard chickens.
We've become friends all over again.
The gifts that this blog has given me are numberless!

In all the years, days and hours I spent at your house as a child and young adult, I would never have imagined your father as anything but a sweet, naturally peaceful man. Despite the episode early on in their marriage, there is no doubt in my mind your mother and father were anything but utterly devoted to one another and the gaggle of girls they were raising in that oh, so tiny, oh so tidy English basement apartment.
My father's history is similar...only he never sought help...and as such, as you know, most of our days as children were a living nightmare.

I am glad my only memories of your childhood home are those of feeling the love in that little apartment and being embraced and accepted. Your father and I constantly teased one another and your mother was a role model for the patience and understanding i initially copied in the early years of raising my own family. I'm so happy, grateful and fortunate your family accepted and embraced me as a kid. It truly made a difference and helped shape me into the adult I am today. I love you, my friend. Namaste. Namaste. Namaste. The divine in me bows to the divine in you.

My father leaves a legacy.
It's not a legacy of insanity, it's not a legacy of hurt, or pain.
It's a legacy of goodness.
It's a legacy of love and humor and the strength of the human spirit.
When you mature enough to look past your own pain, and see the pain others carry and endure - it's most often a beautiful, haunting thing.
My father was beautiful, and I'm oh so glad he was my father.
I wouldn't have traded him for the world.
In the sixteen years that life was insanity - I would have traded the situation - but not him.
I do believe it all happened perfectly, and it's why I'm as compassionate as I am today.
Be kind to people.
We are all hurting or struggling with something.