Monday, December 28, 2009


My intention was to scan in ALL the Holiday cards/photos I received during the season. I think I speak on behalf of EVERYONE when I say the holiday season can sometimes be crazy and the very best intentions sometimes do not always come to fruition. The plan was to spend Christmas Eve holed up in my house scanning and blogging. But....the best laid plans, right?

In the very early hours of Christmas Eve a storm blew in and left some pretty bold gusts of wind for most of the day. As a result, I lost power at roughly 1:30pm and it was not restored until 7pm. Needless to say there was to be no scanning, no blogging, no television, no heat, no light...just me, Julia Child, some candles and a tiny little book light that was of precious little assistance. Once the power was restored I threw my overnight bag into the car and drove to mom and dad's, lest I fall victim to the powerlessness again and once again be "trapped" by an incredibly heavy garage door. (That was my only real obstacle.) Oh...and there was the small stomach bug that surfaced in the midst of "lights out!" A great Christmas Eve, to say the least! I kept looking towards the heavens and then towards the earth and saying, "Which one of you is responsible for this? Whomever it've got an interesting sense of humor!"
This is all the light I had to read by. I was growing increasingly more flustered with each passing, powerless, moment. I wondered, "What have we devolved towards? People lived like this for ages and I can't even live like this for 6 hours?!?!?!?"
Here's the thing....the urge to scan and upload has passed! Sorry was a great idea but rather arduous and laborious in execution.
Today I celebrate my mother's birthday! Happy birthday, mom! As many of you know dad and I hosted a surprise party for mom last week. It was so wonderful to see friends and family all gathered together to celebrate my amazing woman! And I think she was really surprised! (Despite several close Tia Velma saved the day!)

I do not think a parent can possibly love a child anymore than my mother loves me! As Diane Keeton says in "Because I Said So"...."It is an impossible kind of love." It is a love that I do not understand and so I often think I fall so short of holding up my end of the relationship. I suppose that is why parents are often so eager to become grandparents....RETRIBUTION!

To you on your very special day, Mom....
Mom and her special birthday dessert....
Mom and I celebrating her birthday at The Grill @ Leon Springs.
Mom celebrating with her dear friend, Elsa Jasso.
There are MANY "to-do" things on my "list." I prefer not to call it a "bucket list" because I find that term cliche' (but that is another issue entirely.) Perfecting the art of pie making is something I fully intend to realize before my "time is up." This has long been a goal of mine but I was too afraid to actually attempt the task. Being a bit of a perfectionist I knew that the first few hundred attempts would likely result in failure; and I simply do not attempt activities where I might fail. (That is the perfectionist part of me taking over.) However....yesterday I decided to put one foot in front of the other and tip toe over the "starting line."

First of all let me set up the scenario....I was upstairs practicing Pilates...rocking it out, really! I was feeling strong and warm (despite months of near lethargy). I mean...sure I was a bit "tight" but it wasn't anything I hadn't worked through before. Moving into "spine stretch forward" I was feeling good, connected, and accessing all the "right muscles"...keeping it small rather than "showy" considering it had been a while. Then I decided to treat myself with a full stretch forward. I was moving and breathing through the stretch when I heard and felt a "pop" in my low back; like a rubber band snapping. I immediately knew this must have been important because I couldn't move and was stuck on the floor for a few minutes. I couldn't figure out how to "get up." I felt QUITE OLD in that moment and figured "movement" had sought vengeance for my laziness. I managed to get up and called mom who suggested a few "opposite direction" movements. From that moment forward I could stand, lay flat on my back, flat on my belly or kneel. In other words....spine needed to be "straight" (and I use the term "straight" VERY losely!) So....since I couldn't sit down, I decided to face my fear and bake a pie!

I improvised...a bit...because the only Crisco I had was grossly expired. As a result this is an all butter crust. I also think I used the wrong blade in the food processor. The butter never got "beat" into pea-size balls and thus the dough was clumpy and impossible to roll out. I kept using more and more flour to "un-stick" the dough from my rolling pin and my counter tops and I have since learned that will "over-process" the dough and result in a chewy texture. Sure did. The pie is just as ugly as can be. smelled DAMN good while it was baking. I opted for an apple filling and tossed in some bourbon for good measure. I will say the inside is very tasty, if not a tad too "liquid-y." (Bourbon needs to be better portioned out...)

Overall...I am happy with my first attempt. I faced a big fear, I am on my road to warming the hearts (and tummys) of my loved ones and I have a "pie expert" coming over in two weeks to give me a tutorial. (Shout out Meredith Jones!) My goal is pear pie with Gruyere baked in the crust and some sort of deliciously fresh strawberry pie!

Here is my little first little pie....(I am throwing it out because I won't eat it and it is pretty tough. But I might toss a piece Jace's way. She is like "Mikey" with the sweets!)
Before you roar, please take a deep breath.

Goodnight, dear friends! If I do not blog before the New Year (which is a VERY distinct possibility) allow me to wish you and yours the happiest of celebrations! May His grace bless you all with another prosperous New Year!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

And The Rush To The Mailbox Begins....

And so it begins. A task I normally dread, usually ignore, becomes the highlight of my day! The daily rush to the mailbox has officially kicked off. Today I received my first two Christmas cards of the year. Each year I read each card and examine each picture with joy. And each year I think, "What am I going to do with these? How shall I display them? How will everyone know what beautiful messages and photographs I receive? How can I possibly share the pride and love I have for each of these families with all my loved ones?" (Since I NEVER have anyone over, nor do I have any mantle space left, the odds of anyone seeing them are pretty low.) Problem solved! Blog them all! (And hope that no one minds. It is always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, anyhow.) we go...
This card was sent to me by my Grandma Olga (via my mother). I love the simple message on the inside...."From the humblest of places came the greatest of joys." In this crazed season of gifts and lights and ornaments and toys and paper and parties and cookies and stresses the message often gets lost. I adore the simple sentiment and graceful picture of this card. I am moved to tears, brought to my knees, when I think of the completely simplistic circumstances under which our Saviour came into this world. This card exemplifies that. Oh.....Hallmark! I couldn't have said it better myself!
And look at this angel! This is my Ella! I love, love, love this photo. I think it captures her spirit perfectly.
The inside of the card made me smile even more! Ryan, Ciara and Ella Bearden....