A Blue State of Mind

"The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams." Oprah

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Location: The Western U.S, United States

I spent 48 years caring about what people thought of me. I'm not spending the rest of my life caring about that anymore!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Moon Child

Remember that song from American Tail?

"Somewhere out there
Beneath a pale moon light
Someone's thinking of me
And loving me tonight.
Somewhere out there
Someone's saying a prayer
That we'll find one another
In that big out there somewhere"

On Thursday night when I left work the moon was shining high above, full of light, looking down on me. She was beautiful, sitting up there all aglow. Lightning the world and its creatures below.

I've always liked the moonlight. If I believed in the horoscopes I would say it's because I was born in the month of July which makes me a Moon Child, but that's not the reason.

Moonlight, at least the full moonlight makes everything so beautiful and open. No one or no thing can hide when the moon's full. Everything that could be hidden is now in the open. What could be safe from predators is now at risk during full moons.

I've been lucky to see some of the most beautiful sights during a full moon. I remember my father taking us all up to the Grand Canyon and camping out. We kids had run all day fishing, climbing mountains, exploring, collecting pine cones. As darkness fell Daddy took us up to look out over the Canyon. The moon shined out and illuminated the mountains and I thought surely this was what God intended all of the earth to look like! As we made our way back to the campsite I had to use the restroom only the restroom was an outhouse about half a block away. In the dark. Daddy made all of us go together to make sure everyone had emptied everything and I was glad again for the full moon because she allowed us to see the trail, and our campsite.

The other scene seen with a full moon was another camping expedition, again with my family to White Horse Lake. My father liked being an outdoorsman, too bad he was afraid of every little insect, slithering thing and creepy crawly:-) Anyway, Daddy took us up there and rented a cabin right on the water. I remember sitting on the porch of the cabin eating watermelon and drinking Grape pop. With the help of the moon, we could see for miles and miles. Daddy tried to scare us with ghost stories but he was a lousy storyteller so we were never that scared. Thank God the cabin had indoor plumbing.

Phoenix is very flat with a smattering of hills right in the middle of the city. The hills divide the city but if you get to a high enough elevation you can look out over the whole city. We used to do this on full moon nights. We'd drive up to South Mountain lookout point and just marvel in the place we call home.

So, back to the song. It's a good thing to know that the full moon I'm watching tonight is the same moon that's shining brightly in Vegas, Atlanta, Mexico, Japan, Canada, Pennsylvania, Florida, Italy, Virginia, Boise, India, the Philipines, New York, Boston, San Diego and Los Angeles.
I'm thinking of you.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yes I Need All of This to Cook!

I was visiting Dave's place earlier this week about a post on what to do with serving spoons when cooking, ordering cooking utensils and being a messy cook. I agreed w/Dave in that I use quite a bit of dishes and utensils when preparing even the basic meals. Don't know why but the good thing is I clean up after my mess thereby saving a few quarrels between my sister and I. Then I thought, "how interesting a post can I make simply by writing I'm a messy cook"? So, I decided to post my favourite recipes and detail necessary items.

At the risk of sounding as if I'm related to Emeril or Wolfgang, I should point out that these meals are the ONLY ones I'm a success at according to my family who has to help me eat this. And yes, I do use red pepper flakes for most of my meals. I'm a "hot mouth" and love heat in most of my meals. Here's a glimpse into my culinary prowess.

-large non-stick skillet to cook the sauce
-1 cup to reserve pasta water
-large pot to cook the pasta
-tongs to stir pasta
-metal strainer for the pasta
-large spoon to twirl pasta
-fork to twirl the pasta (for tasting)
-small plate or saucer to sample the pasta
(Ingredients: spaghetti sauce, parmesan cheese, turkey sausage, garlic, sugar, stewed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt).

-large pot to cook the stew
-cutting board for the onion, cilantro & lemons
-scissors to cut the tripe
-wooden spoon to stir
(Ingredients: tripe, pata (cow's foot), onion, garlic, salt, lemon, pig's foot (optional), hominy, chili powder, garlic or reg salt, red pepper flakes)

Turkey & Tofu Balls
-large plate to hold ground turkey
-cutting board to chop the onion & garlic
-large non-stick skillet to cook the tofu
-small pot to cook the turkey balls
-small plate or saucer to sample food
(Ingredients: chicken broth, ground turkey, tofu, Five-spice powder, wasabi powder, salt, white pepper, onion, black fungus mushrooms, red pepper flakes)
Picture courtesy of Cyberbrands

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Breast Cancer Survivors-A Dedication

Today in Phoenix the Annual Breast Cancer "Race for the Cure" is happening. Officials are estimating that at least half a million people will participate in running, walking or volunteering to help the event. Today is perfect weather for the Race because we have bright sunshine and cool temperatures-currently 76 degrees.

I have four friends who are Breast cancer survivors: Tanya- that's her facing the camera, laughing with Wooka, Cheryl-a co-worker, Susan-a co-worker turned friend and Dorie-friend. You can find sites and blogs all over the 'Net today about awareness events and requests for pledges but I'm supporting Susan who will be participating in the "Walk for A Cure". Last year Susan was strong enough to walk 60 miles, and she showed me the blisters and sores to prove it. She has been cancer free for more than eight years and we are the better for knowing her.

Tanya's illness was the one that 'rattled' me most in that she was in her mid-thirties, had no family history of breast cancer, and because she was one of the healthiest women I knew. She was very particular about what she ate, exercised, didn't smoke or drink-healthy. So when she announced to the church her diagnosis we were all so upset but like good friends, and strong Christians, we put on brave faces for her.

There were times when brave faces cracked and broke and real fear shined through. Times when Tanya would call us from whichever hospital room she was in, voice weary and drained after traveling across the Southwest to different cancer centers trying to save her breasts from being cut away from her body. We'd listen, silent tears falling, as she described having to endure the tests of having pieces of her flesh invaded by tubes, needles, plugs and scopes.

We saw her beautiful dark skin turn into charcoal, black ink. We saw her weight drop from 160 to 135 or 140. Most of all we saw her completely bald.

When we were young girls, we hated Tanya because of her hair. While my sister and I had hair that barely came down to the bottom of our ears, Tanya's hair was thick and coarse and fell to the middle of her back. Along with her breasts, cancer took Tanya's beautiful hair. In place of the long coarse hair, Tanya's hair, her 'post-cancer' hair is short, wavy and soft like a baby's hair.

Each of these ladies are so brave and I've listened to their stories of overcoming tests, chemo and radiation treatments. I've heard fear make their voices waver when speaking of dying and leaving their children and families behind, of the fears of no longer being attractive to their husbands or potential husbands. I've seen the long, cruel scars where breasts used to be, and have marvelled at breast reconstruction. Most of all though, I now make it a habit to self examine myself because I know that breat cancer can hit anyone, anytime. And I support people like Susan who walk so her daughters won't have to.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The State Fair

October signals the beginning of great and wonderful things for me and my family:

>The weather becomes cooler, the highs are only 93-95 degrees rather than 100-110.

>October has the birthdays of my only sister "Wooka", my Aunt Mildred and my cousin Tarra

>October brings the AZ State Fair with its fried Oreos (I've never eaten any of these, yuck!), farm animals, harrowing rides, out-of-this-world corndogs. When I was a young girl my parents always took us to the Fair and me and my brother and sister would ride and run, eat and laugh and try to win those gigantic stuffed animals until we puked or pooked out, whichever happened first. My parents would spend most of their time meandering through the Crafts sections. I loved the Fair because I could touch real animals, go through the Haunted Houses and try to win a goldfish.
The Fair has a smell all its own. It reminds me of wet asphalt, barbecue grills and hot motor oil all mixed in as one. I get one whiff of that smell and I'm instantly transported to that time when life was worry-free, our book of ride tokens ran forever and we always had enough money to buy at least two corndogs and try to win those cheap gifts.

After I finished high school the Fair had lost much of its luster and attractiveness. I had more pressing concerns-like finding money to pay for college. Also, gang violence threatened to close the Fair as each year the violence would erupt, shattering the peaceful chaos that is the Fair.

As my nieces and nephews came along though, I re-visited the Fair and while the kids ran along eating and riding 'til they puked or pooked, I spent more time in the Crafts sections marveling at the blankets, canned foods, vegetables and pies etc.

My favourite time to take the kids to the Fair would be late afternoon while the sun was bright and it was still too warm for sweaters. Then, as evening would fall all the lights from the rides and booths would appear little by little making the Fair seem even more of a magical place.

Those 'kids' are all grown now, the youngest is 21 and lives in Boise with her father. But I have two more-Jasmine & Mooka, both seven who haven't been to the Fair with me. I'm planning on taking them this year if the Lord says the same. I can't wait to see their faces as they rip and run, ride and eat and touch the animals. I just hope they don't puke in my car.