Monday, May 9, 2011

Okay. Maybe change is good sometimes.

We had a crazy windy thundery rainy storm this morning. (Oh and by the way, God, I didn’t miss how perfectly you matched the events of my morning to this storm. It was very fitting and actually made me feel good when you sent those huge thunder boomers into Wisconsin. Oh and another “by-the-way”…thank You so much for waiting until I was home so I didn’t get caught in the wind and rain.)

Have I mentioned the lovely pair of mourning doves in this blog before? If not, we have a LOVELY pair of mourning doves that visit us and our feeders and our birdbath many times a day. They are a couple of my favorite birds. They form a bond with each other (when you see one, you know the mate is close by too) and apparently they bond with the people that feed them also.

I’ll write more about the mourning doves later….back to my topic at hand.


Sometime during the storm this morning, our bird bath tipped over and blew off the deck.

When I walked by, this is what I saw.

To the left of this confused mourning dove is where our bird bath typically is.

Of course, I knew the mate would be somewhere near. And it was.

In a pinch, he took a drink from a puddle on our deck....but it was our puddle, so he was safe.

They were patiently waiting to get a nice long drink and maybe a bath from our birdbath. Bless their little hearts!

I love how they rely on our birdbath. It makes me feel good. But REALLY Mr. and Mrs. Dove…there were GALLONS of rain that poured on you this morning….there were puddles galore to splash around in.

But they both sat patiently for me to fix and fill the bird bath.

And I did.Of course.

The thing is…maybe we need a change in our lives every once in a while to stir things up and to force our minds to explore different puddles to splash around in.

Ours may not be the best bird bath out there, Mr. and Mrs. Dove! I love that you consider our bird bath yours, but it is kind of gross and it isn't very pretty. I know you come to our house because you 'feel the love' and I want you to continue visiting. Just don't get stuck in thinking we're the only bird bath out there! It's a big wide world to explore and experience!

“Change is not pleasant, But change is constant. Only when we change and grow, We’ll see a world we never know.” ~From Wisdom of The Orange Woodpecker

Thursday, September 16, 2010

baby steps and comfort food

I’m working my way through my recent and very upsetting lack-of-enjoyment-with-cooking phase.

After talking with a few of you about this weird empty-nest phenomenon, I decided to start back with the basics.

I started with very simple foods. I also padded my bet by only cooking my favorite comfort foods.

My attitude really began to change the night that I was so bored with cooking that my dinner consisted of a glass of wine, cheese and crackers. My attitude was “Screw it. I can survive on wine and cheese and crackers. Who needs to cook when I can get everything I need using a cork screw and a cheese cutter?”

Well, that was all good…for the majority of the night. I went to bed with a good book ready for a good night’s sleep until the stomach started to growl….and moan…and then scream for food. Kent was already asleep when I got out of bed and he asked where I was going. I was just slightly embarrassed when I told him “I’m going to make some macaroni and cheese with hotdogs in it.”

The most basic of comfort foods: macaroni and cheese with hotdogs. It was delicious. It made me thoroughly happy and it reinforced that I could still cook something that tasted wonderful.

And so it began. The next night: tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. YUM!

At this point I also decided that I want to stay away from processed foods as much as I can (except when the occasional urge for Kraft Mac and Cheese with hotdogs hits me).

So, this week I made eggplant parmigiana. The eggplant was from the farmers market. I dipped it in eggs and then flour, panko, and seasonings and browned it to perfection. I cooked homemade spaghetti sauce from my home-canned tomatoes and flavored it with my frozen homemade pesto. I layered it all with some mozzarella and baked it until it looked like a picture out of a magazine. It was FABULOUS! (Too bad, so sad for Kent that he doesn’t like eggplant…it just left more for ME!)

Tonight was some simple boneless pork ribs grilled with some awesome BBQ sauce that we bought at a great little restaurant on Grand Ave in St. Paul. I then baked a buttercup squash (another purchase from the farmer’s market) with some butter and brown sugar. Again….pure perfection.

I think I’m getting my cooking groove back. I’ve missed it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Is it just me, or is it human nature?

Why does it sometimes take something bad to happen to make me take stock of the many blessings in my life?

I really try to be grateful for the blessings in my life every day. But I admit, sometimes I get bogged down with my ‘troubles’ and focus only on the bad things.

When I hear about some incredibly painful relationship problems that happen to those I know, my heart goes out to them. My prayers go out to them. And then I take stock of the wonderful...absolutely wonderful...relationships that I have in my life.

My husband: really, there isn’t a more caring, thoughtful man out there that I know of. Sure, we may all give him crap because of his endless pursuit to make us laugh,but a more loyal, kind man you can’t find anywhere. I think it has been his example (by how he treats me) that has taught Lindsay and Brian what to seek in a loving relationship.

My kids: I thank God for my relationship with them every day. There are so many people out there that aren’t on speaking terms with their kids. There are so many people out there that really don’t enjoy spending time with their kids. I cherish every moment I have with them and every email or little text I get from them. They’re both really good people. I’m so incredibly proud of both of them. What I love is that they are so very different from each other, yet they are both such independent, mature, creative, loving adults.

My parents: Wow. What inspirations they are to me! They live every day to the fullest. I know so many people their age (and younger) that just take the easy way out and sit around every day. My parents travel all over the place and when they are home, they volunteer at the mayo clinic and their church, they take lengthy daily walks, play golf, stay active in quilting and various other hobbies. And to top it off they still love me and treat me like I’m the most special person on earth.

My friends: This is another one of those instances, that it took something to slap me up-side the head before I appreciated my true friends. My definition of a true friend: someone that will stand by you through anything, not judge you for stupid things you may say or do, will give you space if space is what you need yet wait patiently for you to come back when you are ready, they always have your back and would never put you down in order to lift themselves up. I am blessed by my true friends.

My God: I can’t talk about my relationships without mentioning Him. We’ve got a good God. Even though we may stray He is always there for us. Always. Always.

My relationships are the most important things in my life. I am truly thankful for them.

I’m not going to wait anymore to be ‘slapped up-side the head’ by hearing of other's relationship struggles before I take time to appreciate the many wonderful people in my life.

I am blessed. No doubt about it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

take it from me



Never Ever.


That's all I have to say.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


One of my favorite sounds.


It's the sound I hear at random times after I've been canning. It's the sound the lids make after the filled-with-yumminess-jars have been processed. PING!!!! means the jar has officially sealed and will safely sit down on our "Sams shelves" for well over a year until we open it and taste its yumminess.

Today: 14 pints of salsa. It's just the beginning...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Deeeeeeeep thoughts in the garden

I spent a few hours in the garden today. Working in the garden is very therapeutic for me.

One of my best friends has shared with me that they are feeling overwhelmed with life lately. I was thinking about this while I walked out to my big flower garden that has been overwhelmed with weeds due to all of our rain and hot weather. Now, I’m not talking about my beloved Johnny Jump Ups “weeds” …I’m talking about the ugly, prickly, suck-the-life-out-of-everything-else weeds.

I have a feeling that my friend is feeling about the same way that this garden looks. The ugliness of the weeds has taken over the beauty of the little things in their life. It’s a ‘hot mess’ as the cooler people amongst us like to say.

I’ve been feeling a bit out-of-sorts and overwhelmed myself lately. I’ve been thinking of myself as a victim. I hate that feeling. That means I’m putting more importance on the ugly things or mean-spirited people in my life than I should be. I’m not focusing on the beauty in my life and all of the people that are truly important to me.

With every ugly weed I pulled out by the roots, I felt a little more in control. With every bunch of ugliness that I yanked out and flung to the side, I felt less like a victim.

As I continued sweating and pulling and digging out the ugliness, I started once again to notice the beauty in the garden. Given their own space, my flowers are beautiful.

Once my attitude started being adjusted I started enjoying the beauty again and my mind began to wander.

- I noticed how wonderful my catmint smelled when I pulled long blades of quack grass from it. I thought of my friend Donna who gave me a small bunch of it from her garden many years ago.

This cat mint has brought beauty into my garden for probably over 8 years. We don’t live close to each other but the beauty of our friendship is that even if we don’t see each other more than twice a year, we still get together and talk like we saw each other yesterday. We still trust each other to be there.

- I remembered how my friend Peg gave me the bee balm and pink mums a couple of years back. They come back strong every year.

Even though our friendship may have taken a break for a few years for whatever reason, we’re still good friends. I treasure her friendship. Like these pink flowers, she keeps coming back as my friend.

- I saw this little beauty underneath some 3 foot high big bold plants. See it under there?

I didn’t plant this little thing. It just appeared. But I couldn’t ignore its simple, quiet, whispering beauty.

I know a person like this. She is surrounded by bold people that tend to overshadow her. But when you focus on her…and her alone…she has a quiet beauty that runs very deep. I don’t want to gloss over people like that.

- I ran across this flower that is done for the season. He’s kinda ugly right now.

But I won’t pull him up because I trust his beauty will be back at another time. I thought about a relationship with a person that has been tense for a number of years. It too was kinda ugly. But we never ended our relationship. I think maybe we both trusted that the beauty would return. This summer our relationship did take a turn for the better. I will take special care with this relationship so it can bloom again.

- And then I ran into this Mo-Fo...I can say words like that now...both my kids are over 21....heehee.

This guy wouldn’t budge when I was trying to yank him out. He stood tall and proud and I nearly landed on my ass when he finally let loose. I thought about some people that are like this weed in my life. They’re not my friends, they're not my family, I didn’t plant them in my life, they’re just there. I allow them to hurt and upset me. I need to yank this type out of my cares. I can’t let them hide the beauty of the other relationships that I am blessed with. So take THAT ya dumb weed! You don’t qualify to get any more of my attention.

See what I mean by therapeutic? I yank out the unnecessary ugliness and I focus on the beauty.


I feel much better now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

a summer favorite

A slice of whole grain bread, fresh-picked tomatoes from my garden, some seasoned salt (Trader Joe's everyday seasoning that comes in its own grinder is really good)and a yummy kind of cheese.

Put it all under the broiler (in the appropriate order, of course) and YUM! A tomato and cheese sandwich! A favorite summer dinner of mine!

Now typically, I put the sliced tomato on the bread, sprinkle it with some seasoning and top it with cheddar cheese. But Brian suggested the shredded parmesan that we have in the fridge.

That was JUST as good as my usual cheddar variety. Kent then suggested the crumbled blue cheese we have in the fridge so I tried that too!

Really good, but I think the cheddar or shredded parmesan are better because of their saltiness.

I've tried fancying it up by adding meats and other vegies, but somethings are best left in their simplest form.

Okay, speaking of cooking, I really have to bring up the question that I've been pondering for a couple of years now.

What would make a woman suddenly lose her love of cooking? AND suddenly become a really crappy cook? I used to LOVE experimenting in the kitchen and the majority of the time my creations were GREAT!

I have to admit that my standard "the ingredients are changing not me" theory is flawed. There are still a lot of people making delicious I hate admit that maybe it's the cook...and not the ingredients.

My other theory is that its just not as much fun to cook for two people as for an entire family. But then why do my dinners just not taste as good anymore when I AM cooking for the entire family?

I am in denial and still play the role of the good cook by exchanging recipes with friends and subscribing to the Food Network magazine

...and by watching the Food Network....but DAMN...I still don't enjoy cooking meals and when I do, they're really not very tasty!

I just don't get it.