Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I've Been Busy...

Clearly I haven't been writing on this blog. And what fun thing have I been so busy doing? I've been unpacking. Yep, been in this house four years and we still had a few boxes that weren't unpacked. I decided to go through the boxes with the idea of giving away anything that wasn't sentimental. --I mean, if I haven't missed the item in over four years...I can probably live without it.

My BR Closet
I also decided that I needed to clear out my closet (s) so that things are reasonably accessible and I can find things easily. I started this project one weekend when Jordan was out of town, focusing on the bedroom dresser and closet. There were so many things crammed in both places that it was stressful to look at. I was able to give away quite a few items that I either don't or can't wear. I figured it makes more sense for someone else to use them rather than leaving them in the closet to "wait for me". Yes, someday I may be able to fit into some of those cute dresses...which is why I've been hanging on to them. But I realize that, when that day comes, my style may have changed. Why not let someone else enjoy the clothes now.

I've been reading articles about the value of reducing your stuff. 
I was inspired but either too busy or too tired or too something to actually act on this plan. Funny thing though, I found once I got started I couldn't stop. I started in my bedroom and moved to my "Red Room".

My Red Room is basically my space...for crafts and books and things. I'm incredibly lucky to have space big enough that I can claim a room just for my stuff. I've shared glimpses of this room before. But I was strategic in my photos...pretty much showing you only the space that wasn't cluttered.

Well, this weekend I attacked that room. I went through every box in the room and cleaned out the closet of even more things I don't wear or use.
My "Red Room" Closet
The result is a room that can be my zen place. I've actually spent lots of time in that room even before I got it organized. I've always loved the space. It's quiet and peaceful. Now that there are no longer books and projects all over the room it is a lot more inviting to me. 

Granted, the room is pretty sparse...but I'd rather have this than clutter. 


Friday, July 4, 2014


The 4th is such a cool holiday. All festive and happy and summer. It usually means hot dogs and cookouts and watermelon or strawberry shortcake. This year was no exception. The plan was hotdogs at Sissy's we did a couple of years ago. But...the A/C in her house stopped working. 

Let me just has been Crazy HOT.  I mean CRAZY! So, Sissy did what any of us would do...changed the venue to Dad and Mamacita's house. 

And, because I was feeling festive and a little brave, I made dessert. Yes! I was in the kitchen actually making something. {It has been a while!}

Let me say right off the bat that I did not come up with this recipe or idea. I got the idea from a blogger I've been reading: The Glamorous Housewife. Oh my gosh what a fun blog. Last weekend as I was browsing my favorite blogs (similar to how I used to browse magazines) I saw that Bethany had a video called Ice Box Cake. I watched and was convinced I could actually do this. 

Bethany's recipe calls for strawberries (of course) and whip cream (double yeah!) and lemon curd and cookies. 
I used vanilla wafers and cool whip. {not a plug...I just happen to like them.}

This morning I felt oh so domestic as I sliced the strawberries. (I soaked them in a little sugar after they were sliced.) The lemon curd was really a secret ingredient. Bethany tells us to microwave for about 30 seconds to make it easier to spread. What a good idea! 

Here's how the cake is assembled. Whip cream on the bottom of the dish followed by cookies (in my case vanilla wafers). Then strawberries layered over the cookies and lemon curd over the strawberries. I put another layer of cookies on before adding more whip cream because I wanted the cake to be cakier.

The layers repeat until you either run out of ingredients or you run out of room in your dish.

Then, into the refrigerator it goes (covered with foil or plastic wrap.) It stays there at least three hours. And have cake.

I surprised Sissy and Dad and Mamacita when I brought the cake. Have I mentioned I haven't made anything in the kitchen in quite a while? Sissy is the real cook in our family. And, this wasn't cooking...but it was homemade. And it was yummy. 

I hope you all had a fun and happy 4th too.


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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Happy Place

It was routine surgery really. But it was my first. I wasn't scared so much as nervous and uncomfortable. The doctor came to talk to me just before I got wheeled into the OR. "How are you feeling?" he asked. I told him where I hurt and he said, "we're going to fix that". Those words were oddly comforting. We are going to fix that.  So nice to hear someone so confident that "it" can be fixed and they can do the fixing. 

The anesthesiologist put something in my IV and encouraged me to begin thinking of my happy place. "Imagine yourself there," he said. "Is it the beach? Imagine the color of the water." 

Okay I thought, I'll make my happy place the beach. I'll try to hear the waves. Soon it was time to put on the mask and count backwards. I could feel myself drift into unconsciousness, though beach thoughts just did not "take".

In recovery the nurses were calling if from a tunnel. Calling me and asking me to open my eyes. When my eyes fluttered open I realized where I was. And I realized where I wasn't. I wasn't in my happy place. I was just there seconds before I re-entered consciousness. I had really been there. I was happy in my happy place. Why did I have to leave the happy place when I wasn't ready? It was hard to understand in my still groggy state. I ached to go back to sleep so I could visit just a little while longer.

I silently let tears fall to the bed sheet. Not sobbing, but crying just a little. I didn't talk about it. Didn't explain which part of everything made me sad.

It wasn't until that day that I understood where my happy place was.
Welcome to my Happy Place
It's Grandma and Grandpa's house. The house my Dad and his sister grew up in. The house that I spent HOT. Summer. Days.

There I am (to the left). I'm "cooking" in the cast iron pots on the hearth. I spent many, many days at that fireplace. These were my "toys". 

In the winter, there was always a fire. The hot popping kind with blue and yellow flames. 

The house I grew up in was just a quarter mile away as the crow flies. And that's exactly the path we took to hang out at Grandma's. We always called it "Grandma's" it was implied we meant Grandma and Grandpa.

Sundays, for as long as I can remember, meant fried chicken and fired potatoes and garden vegetables at Grandma's house for lunch. There was plenty of ice tea and something sweet for later.

Once the dishes were cleared we all headed out to the front porch. Lots of living was done on the front porch. 

The porch was where I wanted to be even if I was the only one there. Rocking in the chair and feeling the breezes was pure serenity.

This porch is where Dad was rocked when he was little and fighting sleep. 

This porch is where my sisters and I played while the parents talked and laughed as night fell. Mosquito candles flickering to give the illusion that we were safe from the itchy bites.  

This porch is where I read many novels while I drank glass after glass of ice tea. 

This porch is where Jordan and I shared our wedding day snapshots and several years later it's where we brought our daughter to play.

Grandma loved this porch. I often joined her on the porch in early mornings to enjoy the the cool breezes while we drank coffee. Those were nice quiet mornings. Neither of us felt compelled to chat. Sitting beside each other was enough.

Grandma continued to live in this house after Grandpa died. I think living there helped her continue to feel the peace of a life well lived.

The house is empty now. Empty and gutted. Soon the house will be demolished. I visited the house Saturday. Just to feel its embrace. I felt waves of my childhood happiness. I felt nostalgic without feeling morose. It is just another reminder of how blessed I am.