Thursday, October 3, 2013

It's a Jungle Out There!

I always thought Husband should have lived during the time commonly referred to as "The Age of Exploration." You know, Christoper Columbus, Ponce de Leon, and Vasco de Gama. I think he has a deep-seeded need to explore, travel, and conquer. Okay, so it's three hundred years later, but better late than never! He's working deep in the jungle of Central America, Panama to be exact. Each day he's driven an hour and half one way to get to work where he manages a team of laid back workers who he's trying to turn into productive American-style workers. Trying is the keyword.

The Jungles of Panama

So, while Husband is managing the workers in Panama, I'm managing the workers here in the forth largest, and rapidly growing, metropolis in the nation. The updates since August are numerous so buckle your seatbelt and pray for least until December. Husband's initial expedition was to last until end of October. However, as is customary for his employers, the date continues to extend. In the meantime, I'm preparing for yet another move toward the end of November to the next county which is closer to my work and closer to the kids schools. Eldest daughter moves downtown near the Med Center to continue her B.S.N program with all its intensity. And if things weren't eventful enough, she and Her Guy decided to bump the wedding date up one year - to THIS December. Everything in me has shifted into turbo charge and I find myself approaching it with the same enthusiasm of designing a client's home. Her Guy will only have a two week leave (hopefully) over Christmas so we'll combine a Christmas celebration and wedding which means I actually get to see my extended family around Christmas. Personally, winter is my favorite time of year, even in the Big H so I'm very excited. Although my extended family will be here, it looks like Husband will only be making a guest appearance to give the bride away, then taking off again for uncharted lands. C'est la vie! Although Husband's gone, I'm seldom short of companionship because I've added two more adult children to my household who I will miss very much when they're no longer here. Like so many other young men in my midst, Mr. S will be flying high into the wild blue yonder come October 29 and Ms. J will be heading downtown for school after Christmas. Well, with any luck, the next post will contain wedding pics and a recent photo of Husband so I don't forget what he looks like! Cheers!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Fig Tree in the Courtyard of Eden

The first year of our marriage, my husband took me to church hoping to settle some questions that had arisen in our relationship, which it did, but it also opened a Pandora's Box of questions. Questions like, who is the statue of the women in the corner? Why does everybody repeat the same prayer in unison? What is a bird bath doing at the entrance (no kidding?) Well, twenty-four years later I'm still full of questions, to my Husbands dismay. Now his well rehearsed response to everything is "that's a good question." He no longer feels compelled to answer my inquiries, which I actually never expected in the first place...I was just thinking aloud like any good philosopher.

Moving to Texas has generated, not surprisingly, more questions. Why do certain cars have "Ben Hur chariot" style hub caps. Why do people live in such big houses that just have to be air-conditioned 6 months out of the year? Why is there so much grass in a place so hot and prone to drought. In response to that last observation, I've decided not to plant grass in the backyard of the new house. Instead we'll create a courtyard garden with lots of brick, lots of plants, flowers and shrubs, and enough trees to provide shade from the heat and fruit trees to make me happy and, of course, an area with a gas hookup for Husband's grill. I've done my homework and have an exhaustive list of heat tolerant and drought resistant stuff.

I love figs and they grow tremendously well in Texas. Funny thing is that I never had one until I was in my 40s. Until then I thought, like others from my generation, that they were some sort of man-made candy filling for cookies. I came across an article that gave a bit of history of the fig in North America.  A fig tree seems a perfect fit to my Garden of Eden, or should I say my Courtyard of Eden. Gardening is one of my passions, I always get the sense of being close to God with my hands in the earth and seven long years without my own plot of soil has required great patience but, Lord willing, my wait will be over this fall and I can get back to working in my garden with God. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

From Baby Boxes to Barracks and other Milestones

Several years ago, Husband bought a book entitled "How to Beat Burnout." The fact that I was pregnant with child #3, we had recencely moved, and Husband had changed employers (but stayed in the same field) and fighting L.A. traffic had him a bit concerned.  The author said when one experiences any three major life changes such as a birth, death, job change, major move, etc your likelihood of experiencing burnout is extremely high. Well, we soon realized that we always scored five or above at any point in our life. Some people call it burnout, we call it life. So here is an update.

Like many other families at this time of the year, we celebrated another high school graduation. So now it's 3 down 2 to go, for high school that is. I guess we start the countdown again once college graduations come and go, huh!  Yes, Middle Daughter graduated this month which was a great reason to have family from far and near join in the festivities. #1 Auntie from CA spent a week with us which was another good reason to meet and share a meal with our newly discovered Counsins who happen to live in the Big A...No, not The Big Apple. Guess again. We shared a day of celebrating milestones and getting to know Cousins we didn't know we had. But that's a long story reserved for an episode. Does finding out you have multiple additions to the family consistute a birth?

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, Eldest Son informed us that he'll be Anchors Aweigh in January. Yes, three years of Sea Cadets during high school and two years of college have set him up to continue studying Linguists through the Navy.  If he had his way, he'd be gone now but these government agencies do take their time in processing paperwork. Three years of ROTC-type participation comes with it's benefits...if only I can find those certificates. I think I tucked them away in his Baby Box. When I stashed them away three years ago I had no idea I would be pulling them out for this. So it is possible that come 2014 we will have only three children left at home. Would two less children living at home qualify for another life change? To add frosting to the cake, after six years of moving and renting, we have bought a home and yes, we have downsized. So, I guess we are sticking around for awhile. Or at least I am, Husband is in France as I'm writing this post. Just kidding, he is only gone for a week. Although the thought occurred to me that when Husband goes on a business trip, 50% of the time it mens another move, but no, we are not moving to France, only to the next county at the end of July - just as we are helping Eldest Daughter settle into UT to finish the last two years of her nursing degree.

Well, so much for burnout. We just call it an adventure and are thankful for all the places we have lived, the people we have met and continue to meet, and for family that still comes to visit.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Maraschino Cherries and Other Urban Legends

"Don't eat those, formaldehyde is used to preserve them."  Did I really say that to a sweet 19-year old girl I hardly knew? Quickly seating myself at my computer and consulting Google, I discovered that I had just lied. This was only an urban legend promoted by my gullible generation, along with the wait 30 minutes after eating before swimming myth. Experientially, my summers were spent in the pool and ocean and if I did remember to eat, I guarantee I didn't wait 30 minutes to get back into the water. What kid wants to be bothered with eating when the ocean waves are calling your name.

But, back urban legends. Although I have fooled myself into thinking I value truth among all else, I often find myself propagating lies.  Not long ago I told a friend that sugar feeds on cancer cells, another myth I picked up from an unknown source.  Yesterday, in researching the food pyramid (more faulty information promoted by the USDA) I discovered the sugar claim is only half true.

It's hard to know who or what to believe with so much information available. The latest nutritional curiosities on the rise are super foods. You know, food that give you more bang for your buck. These include flax and chia seeds. I recently blended coconut milk - don't use the low fat stuff - 4 tablespoons of chia seeds and honey then let it set in the frig to solidify and chill. It was delicious and particularly so because it was healthy! I just hope it doesn't take forty years to find out if the super foods are really so "super" or just another urban legend.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Where is Waldo?

Today, Eldest daughter pulled out a box of old photos of her and The Siblings. Most of them are at least 15 years old and as we looked through dozens of pics, I noticed something was missing. Or more specifically, someone was missing. Me!  Do you remember the "Where's Waldo?" books. He's difficult to find because there is always so much going on around him. This is probably a common phonomenon with moms because we are either behind the camera or busy dealing with mischevious children, picking up messes, or responding to the cry of "I'm hungry."

I'd like you to take a look at this photo. Do you see something missing? Aside from the fact that I'm the only one on this particular stretch of beautiful Pacific Coastline, my children are glaringly absent. Yes, it was the first vacation in years and the first time I've gone to California as a tourist; now I understand why people flock there, both to live and to visit. The weather was beautiful - I love the beach in the winter - the food was delicious - especially the sushi - there was no smog and no fog and no tourists - except me. But am I tourist? Not really, I was just going back "home" to visit my sisters, laugh a lot, visit other family, and eat good food. But as is characteristic of me, I forgot my camera and a five year old flip-phone was no replacement for a Minolta. Although I love technology and use it from 9 to 5, I'm completely deficient at home - evidenced by the flip-phone! So now I have to ask my sisters to email pics that I can't download. Is  there a smart phone  in my future? Probably.

The four decades I lived there (wow, that's a long time) I resented all the people who moved to my home state from other places. Now I understand what drew them, so please forgive me for being cranky! Although the sand felt wonderful between my toes and I miss my sisters and other family, I have no desire to return. After 10 years, it is no longer home. The Lone Star State may be home but it's still too soon to tell. A visit to Galveston, with the Texas sand under my feet may be all it takes to settle down permanently.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Can I Get Off this Merry-Go-Round Now?

Gone are the days that I used to post on my blog every week. Gone are the hours of allowing my mind to weave their creative thoughts and compose something fairly entertaining, or at least coherant, to read. Which is why my last post was two months ago... oh my!

I'm feeling the reality of living in a busy city as a working mom with five kids at home. So little time!  This week Eldest Son turned 20 - no more teenager!  I now have two twenty-somethings with three more trailing close behind. Not surprisingly, we found it impossible to schedule a "birthday dinner" where everybody was available which is funny considering we all live in the same house. Solution?  A birthday breakfast before Birthday Boy heads to work.

His bithday fell on the same day the twins had their ROTC Military Ball and their first dates. I grinned when my freshmen sons told me their dates were a high school sophomore and junior. Obviously, they've adjusted to high school just fine.  Take a look-see.

Patrick & Bambi

Dominic & Elina

On another note, tomorrow I take daughter #2 and child #3 to get her drivers permit. I told her it was a waste of time because there are no more cars to drive.  Five drivers and three cars in a place as spread out as Texas, who are we kidding!