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!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Fond Memory

When I was in grade school I loved to read. Anything my chubby brown hands could get a hold of to read, I'd read. Because of my high reading and language scores I was selected to help out in the library sorting books, tidying up the place and helping the other students check out books. The librarian (I never thought I'd forget her name) was very kind to me. I don't know if it was because I was painfully shy or if because she could pretty much give me limited supervision and the chores would get done w/o a lot of follow up on her part.

I remember her as being a tall, slim, model-like blonde who was always stylish in dress and had perfect hair. She and the music teacher (never thought I'd forget his name either. See what age and time does to you?) were good friends and often took their lunches together in her office located in the back of the library.

The music teacher was an attractive, soft=spoken black man who always wore neckties and jackets, even during music class. I thought he was one of the handsomest men I'd ever seen and because he was a writer and musician, and single, he should meet my single aunt and marry her. When I told my mother my ideas of matchmaking Minnie to the music teacher, I remember her thinking that was one of the funniest things I had ever told her. My aunt Minnie shared Momma's view but she was a lot nicer in bursting my bubble than Momma.

At the end of the school year I was tasked with helping the librarian take inventory of every book in the library. The school was to receive a new set of Encyclopedia Britannica and the old set discarded. When the librarian (why can't I remember her name?) asked if I'd like to have the old set of encyclopedias I was elated!

I don't know exactly how the books made it to the house but I remember my parents let me store them, all in a row, on a rickety wooden bookshelf that sat prominently in our living room for everyone to see. And you know what? My sister and I tried to read every one of those books! A lifetime before the Internet where we can Google or Yahoo or Bing every concept known to man, my family had a set of encyclopedias and we were proud to have them!

I would spend hours reading through those books, learning about everything from astronomy to zoology, Presidents of the U.S., the Civil War, and everything in between.

Last week while looking for papers, I found two of those encyclopedias. I had managed to keep them somehow, all these years. I've sat them aside and may glance through them just to compare the listings to today's language and verbiage. Maybe I'll do it on a rainy day or maybe I'll read them to Butterfly. I don't know why I'm saving them, all that info is a mouse click away.

Maybe I'm saving them to remember how special I felt lining them up on that rickety bookshelf, or how we had to take special care to dust them and not damage them. Whatever the reason, they're right over there, another fond memory of days gone.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Culture Shock

I've had a bit of an active social life the past few days. Enough that it has me bemoaning the loss of, let's see, with the cost of tonight's dinner ($65), my share of dinner last Thursday ($70), Saturday's dinner ($30), I feel especially compelled to retreat back to my hermetic lifestyle, if for nothing more than to save money!
Earlier this year I placed myself on a budget that until recently, was serving my goal of regaining some of the losses made in my 401k and other market funds. Then poof!, my friends started rescuing me from the constant distraction of the unpleasant events unfolding in Boise and my budgeting resolve went into hiding.
I can't lie and say I'm not glad to have the distractions, but I'd sure like that $$ that has been spent *sigh*.
I've been Twittering so much I've started blogging in the same 140 character style. That's wild!
Anyway, getting to the title of the post: I've been helping with interviews for my Dept and I am absolutely appalled with the outfits some of these candidates have worn to the interview. The last time I saw so many breasts and cleavage on display was when I was flipping through the lingerie section of a magazine!
These ppl have shown up in short sleeved tee shirts sporting cleavage a Playboy bunny should wear! Tight jeans and heels, shirts with slogans printed on them, jeweled flipflops! One applicant who seemed to be my age wore slacks, purple shirt and coordinating purple tie. We hired him just because of how professional he looked! Another lady wore grey leggings that fit like a layer of frosting on a pudding cake. And the leggings were split in the back when she got up. Her oversized shirt hid the tear while she was standing but when getting up it was plainly seen. Shaking my head folks. Shaking my head.
I know our work culture has changed. Business casual has been replaced with "anything but pajamas" at some places, and these people were carrying that message loud and clear. We carried our message too, we didn't hire most of them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This & That Thursday #2

I've been following the story of the loner who attended a protest during the POTUS' visit here. One of our news stations interviewed the guy who gave a litany of reasons why he hates the POTUS. All I can do is shake my head because loner guy's so lost and he's a brother. I can't imagine what his family and friends are thinking now, especially since one of them ratted him out to the media.

Speaking of the Obama family, the 1st Lady and her family viewed the Grand Canyon wearing shorts, tank top and cotton tee. I was surprised to see her outfit and thought she could have made several better choices to hike the Canyon. Perhaps beige carpi's and tank w/long sleeved cotton man's shirt. When she was digging the White House garden she looked better than this. If I had money and the country's best designers on speed dial, I'd be out there in a Valentino sleeveless dress, gloves, a Lauren "Ricky" bag, Loboutin heels and a huge hat. Or like this beautiful outfit. I wouldn't look like I was making a quick dash to 7-11 for a lottery ticket.

Speaking of dressing faux pas, I've been interviewing for the Dept and have noticed that people no longer dress for interviews. I've interviewed people with their bras clearly showing, cleavage almost to the navel, midriff skin and back end tats. Did I miss the cultural memo that dressing for a job interview is no longer important for landing that job? Or maybe I'm just not in with the times. Sigh.

My aunts in Boise are both still in hospital however the seriously ill one has been taken from ICU and placed in a regular room.Unfortunately she's being moved to a rehab/convalescence home. There's no one to give her all the care she's going to need. My family has to make some seriously hard choices. But it's something we must all go through at one point in our lives.

I haven't seen the little feral strays in the last couple of days. The milk's gone in the morning but I'm not certain who's eating it. The jar of baby food wasn't eaten so I don't know where they're gone. Hope they're okay though.

Well, it's late or early depending on where this is being read. Steve Lawrence is crooning and my eyelids are getting heavier. Off to bed for me. Tomorrow may not come, but if it does, it contains four meetings and one interview. Wonder what this candidate will be wearing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We Have Kittens!

Well, they're not really ours per se, but we saw them last night in our backyard. My brother and I were out on the porch last night talking about things when he spotted two of them eating the fries I had thrown out earlier. We have several feral strays in the neighbourhood, one of them has been here for years, and with the absence of free reigning stray dogs, their population has grown, but three feral kittens is news indeed.
I immediately found an old Tupperware dish, filled it w/skim milk (that's the only milk we have in the house, don't judge me) and sat it out there to see if they would bite, or lap in this case. And they did! They gathered around the dish which was not that far from us on the porch and lapped milk until they were satisfied.

Tonight I'll buy a few jars of baby food for them and a container of whole milk to see if I can help fatten them up. I'd love to make them pets but I'm pretty certain my siblings will smother me w/a pillow if I do that. I'm a serious animal lover, the siblings? Not so much.

Yesterday during President Obama's stop here in Phoenix several protesters wore weapons during their demonstration. Oh, it's quite legal here to openly sport weapons, I guess it keeps the "Wild Wild West" image going. I don't know though. There are too many people around who could get hurt, why allow weapons at a protest anyway? Just another reason my neighbours have embarrassed me *sigh*. I'm sure I'll hear about it today from my colleagues in NY and FL. Yippee!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Day In My Life

3:15a-Too sleepy to keep reading. Detective Jury and his detecting must wait 'til tomorrow. Have to use the bathroom. The hall is eerily dark, can't understand this but too sleepy to find out why.

6:00a-Blackberry is beeping. Brother in Boise has just paged that my eldest aunt has been taken to the hospital. Two aunts in the same hospital. Stomach muscles tighten and it's hard to breathe.

6:25a-I need to sleep but now I'm hot and cold, tossing and turning. All these end of life thoughts are running through my head. What do I do now? Should I call brother or wait?

7:25a-Bean calls from FL. She's at Walmart picking up travel necessities. She's leaving for MN tonight and has to stock up. I tell her the bad news and ask her opinion on whether I should go to Boise. She says she'd do the same for me if I were in hospital and empathizes with me.

8:25a-Hang up from Bean and notice I've missed a text from SIL who's advising they've put eldest aunt on respirator and that eldest aunt's only daughter is motoring down from WA. Try to go back to sleep.

9:45a-Decide to clean the kitchen and make breakfast even though stomach still feels "nervous". Cook a turkey burger with two eggs. Stomach seems to agree. Now that the kitchen's clean, maybe a little nap?

10:00a-Answer land line. Why did I do that?? Goofy guy who's obviously more lonely than I because he rolling a mile a minute. I don't know this man from Adam, apparently this means nothing to him. He shares his ministry, his beliefs and his football-playing past w/me. Says he's played three years w/the Chiefs. I ask him who the quarterback was when he played. He can't remember. Please!! Finally I just tell him I'm hanging up the phone, that I'm praying for him and disconnect. That's 27 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

10:30a-Decide to pay a few bills and buy music recommended by Bean. Find Daniel Young and The Singletons on iTunes then decide to sync my iPhone and iPod. This requires a full update of music and playlists while popping in to Twitter to check out the news there. Maybe now I can take that nap.

11:25a-Brother needs to use my car to get some parts for his car. He's wondering why I look so tired. Didn't I sleep or am I too worked up? I try to explain but he's too interested in getting the parts. Since I can't sleep I read latest issue of Fortune especially the iPhone v Blackberry. I have to carry both and love them each but the Blackberry has my heart. Sort of like the Vikings and Cowboys. I love them but Dallas will win out every time.

1:15pm-After a quick, forgetful lunch of tilapia and broccoli I watch Arrested Development, then Mr.3000. Receive two separate texts from the Twins in Vegas about their leaving for Boise sometime this weekend, when are we planning on leaving? We discuss the algorithms necessary when making plans like this and agree that we can only wait and hope and pray and pray and pray.

4:40p-Brother brings dinner of greasy oysters and fries from Pete's. Just what my troubled stomach doesn't need but I eat the oysters anyway. I'm not too much of a fries lover so those go outside to the cats or birds. Whoever gets them first.

5:15p-Is it too late to try for that nap? I'm worn out. True to form, my skin is showing signs of stress. That, coupled with the spicy oyster sauce, hot cauliflower and lemons, should have me looking like a psoriasis victim.

6:30-BFF JT calls to ck up on me. I texted him and BFF ML the news about the aunts and he wants to know if I need anything. No, I'm fine. Stiff upper lip and all that crap I always do. If there's one trait that I have, it's being consistent.

6:45p-Talked to Chip in VA. His mom's the eldest aunt, he just needs to talk. His brother and sister have been speaking w/him throughout the day. He'll wait for their instructions before heading out. He's scared and worried. I've been right there but my mom was here w/me, not on the other side of the country.

7:15p-Decided to blog about this day. I've given up on sleep. Maybe I'll fold and put away some of these clothes and give myself a badly needed pedi. Night is falling. the sky's pink blush in the horizon and inky blue above. But instead of calming me, it's making me afraid of the sunrise. What if it brings news I'm just not ready to hear?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Decisions, Decisions or Sometimes It Sucks Being The Middle Child

I going to have to go back to Boise for a few days or weeks. Mildred has been moved out of ICU but is too weak to take care of herself. My aunt Minnie has been taking care of Mildred for about four months but now Minnie is having medical issues herself. Minnie's doctor thinks she may have had mini-strokes and may have neurological issues. My aunt Mary is too weak to care for others so she's out of the lineup of resources to help w/Mildred while Minnie is convalescing.

I'm thinking of taking a leave from work to go up and help out. I haven't worked out everything yet but I am looking at how much my savings can bear with missing a few weeks of salary. Then once I get there I'll need a car to go back and forth because the aunts live about 55 miles away. The ideal is that Mildred is sent to a nursing home in Boise which will cut down on gas and time spent driving, in case of emergencies.

Each of my aunts have children, but they're not able to leave their jobs to care full time for their mothers or they live out of state. or they have small children who are in school. Right now I'm the best candidate but I have my own things to consider: I'm beginning a new job under a new Director and my leaving just as our new teams form could be a big monkey wrench. As honoured as I am to have been chosen for this new position, it pales in comparison to caring for my family. Long after my family is gone, this brick and mortar company will still be standing.

Sometimes no matter what you do, or how you live trouble always comes. It's like this: I get through one storm and I go out and try to repair all the shingles the heavy winds blew off. I fix all the leaks, brace up my little heart and relax then BAM! Here comes another storm. Those clouds I saw in the distance must have been the same ones bringing this new storm. I know in every life some rain must fall, but geez, let me have more time between storms!

I talked to BFF about my plans and thoughts and he thinks I shouldn't leave right now because of this new position and, after having already accepted it, walking off and leaving my Director hanging. Each of my aunts have grown children and those children will have to make changes in their lives to help their ailing parents like my family and I did. I just feel as the eldest niece I can't sit in Phoenix and not help out.

I've been trying to get to Boise for the past two years. This new position came up and I took it (I'd be a fool not to). Now it seems everyone in Boise that I want to be closer to may not make it. Yeah, I know I'm going way out and probably over thinking this but it helps to type it out. How cruel to finally make it to Boise to live and my aunts gone to live with their children in other states or dead?

Something will happen. I can't take care of every one's problems. I've been doing it so long it's foreign not to step in and handle problems. If life has taught me anything, it has taught me to trust in Him that never fails. I have to believe that He will work this out for me because only He can work it out. See, I just answered my own question on how to handle this dilemma:-)

"What a friend we have in Jesus.
All out sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Oh what peace we often forfeit,
Oh what needless pain we bear.
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mildred Darlene

This is my Aunt Mildred. The lady in the center of the page holding granddaughter Tierra and standing behind her other three granddaughters.

She's been taken to the hospital tonight in guarded condition. Mildred, hurry up and get better, you're making a bunch of people very nervous.

This & That Thursday

No, I'm not trying to be overly clever. Thought the post's title is catchy and I'm sure this theme is already out there somewhere. Pretty much have nothing to post about the odds and ends of ideas and thoughts currently running through my drug-addled mind.

I worked out more than usual yesterday and my poor back muscles are reprimanding me for my over zealousness (is that a word?). So I've popped a muscle relaxer and painkiller about two hours ago and now beginning to feel some relief. Usually this cocktail drops me right on the old keister but so far not even drowsiness. Maybe it's safe to take at work-dunno.

I read the article that exercise may not help with weight reduction. Ha! Ha! I don't know about all that. What I do know for sure is that NOT exercising makes me feel lethargic and slow.

One of my peers bought me the first season of "Arrested Development" for my birthday. I ordered seasons 2 & 3 on Amazon and got my family hooked on AD too. We're at the last episode of the show and it's sort of sad to know that great show with the most creative writing teams only lasted three seasons. Awesome.

Mrs. Eunice Shriver died yesterday. She made it to 88 years, bless her heart. In college I was tasked to writing about the Kennedy Administration and being the little rule-breaker that I can sometimes be, I wrote about Mrs. Shriver and Mrs. Marion Wright-Edelman and their strengths on individually bringing change to the country and even the world. Mrs. Wright-Edelman has a new book out that I'm going to order. It will be great reading for the upcoming trip to Vegas.

This has been a summer of loss hasn't it? So many people, both celebrity and personal have chosen this summer to leave us. This constant parade of deaths may be remembered as the Loss Summer.

On a happier note-the one note everyone can sing-my sister n law took a few pictures of Mooka on his first day of school. He's nine now and didn't want to pose for the pictures. Then he badgered his mother into dropping him off at the end of the block instead of the drop off place. You hold on to kids' hands so long, then you feel them slowly letting go of your hand. They don't know now how blessed they are knowing that you're right behind them in case they start to fall. Sometimes even us big kids don't realize there are people right behind us ready to reach out and grab our hands if we start to fall.

Aren't we the lucky ones?

Monday, August 10, 2009

School School The Golden Rule

Tonight, due to no fault of my own, I had to take Mooka (nephew #4) school shopping because the clothes his mother had bought for school had already been worn and he wanted newer things because it's the first day of school.

There are a lot of things I don't like to do. Shopping of any kind is at the top of this list. Clothes shopping is the worst. I am a cranky, fussy cactus when I have to shop. Being forced to shop just makes me so mad I think I could punch a baby if given a chance! This is the mood I was in tonight at 5pm when my brother asked if I would take Mooka shopping.

I won't explain the circumstances of why it was me and not his two parents to take him shopping, I remember how important it is to most children that they have new clothes and shoes that first day of school. For that reason I was not going to allow Mooka to have a bad first day of school so off we went to find him school clothes.

The first store we stopped at was Ross'. I've not shopped at Ross' except during Christmastime because of the different items I can find for cheap office gifts. I can honestly say I felt this store was two steps below Walrut and about one step above a Goodwill or Salvation Army store. There were clothes strewn about, empty and disorganized racks. This store's message was we're as sorry to see you come in as you'll be after spending time here. Really.

We found socks, a few tees and a pair of shorts for Mooka. With those bought, we headed to Kohl's.

This is the second time I've been to a Kohl's and it wasn't bad, Reminds me of a scaled down Target but with a better jewelry selection. Most of West Phoenix must frequent this particular Kohl's because by the time we got there (a little after 7) there were lots of kids streaming through the shoe and children's sections. Here we found Mooka two pairs of Skechers, some cool tees and more pants.

Next, the last place any sane person wants to be right before the first day of school was Walrut because Mooka needed some notebooks, pencils and markers. So, we descended into Walrut and along with several gazillion parents and children, tried to find afore-mentioned items. As I shopped there amongst those screaming, squalling youngsters eagerly reaching for notebooks and other school stuffs I wondered why they weren't already home in bed. By now it was close to 8:30! Why have these kids out so late when school starts tomorrow?

I couldn't do anything but shake my head because this is what happens when you wait to the last minute to buy things. And of course as I looked at the new notebooks and green pencils Mooka happily poured into the cart, I remembered how excited we kids would get buying our new school supplies.

I remember how all of our new things were laid out for the next morning-that first day of school. We girls would have had our hair done the night before so that morning all we had to do was wash our faces, brush our teeth, eat cereal and head off skipping all the whole block away to school.

Children should look forward to the first day of school, they don't know any better:-) And I didn't want Mooka to be embarrassed by not having something new the first day or week because I remember how important it was to me. And I'm glad I was able to buy the things he needed and the few things I wanted him to have. It wasn't that long ago that I was buying school supplies for eight nieces and nephews, now I'm down to one. So to be honest, I suppose I was really just glad for the opportunity to continue a tradition that began almost twenty-three years ago.

Happy school year to our students all over the world!!

Saturday, August 08, 2009


Tonight me and BFF were outside walking and talking about nothing when I looked up at the sky and smiled. You know how at sunset the middle of the sky is that inky blue and the western horizon still has that layer of blush pink? I observed to BFF how much I loved this time of night because it signals a reprieve from life's battering ram of troubles and busyness that drives some people's lives.

To me, nighttime means quiet and stillness. No jarring cell phone ringers, no blinging and chirping cell phone alerts, nobody needs anything from you. It's just peace and quiet and the occasional upset, gassy stomach.

BFF has a completely different take on daylight. He feels sunrise signals another chance to make something better, to change or work on a situation. Daylight to him means now he's rested, has had time to think of new strategies, change courses, set new goals in place of failed ones.

To him, daytime means he's still living and breathing, brand new mercies are awaiting him at the crack of dawn. He'd rather meet challenges head on in the morning where he can see them, than go into the night with the worry and tension draining on him, wearing him down.

I told him that night time brings solitude and time to recharge myself to prepare for the daylight, not stay up worrying about what will happen in the daylight (although I've done this too much to mention). At night I can wash off my fakeness along with my makeup and be the real DeboBlue, putting myself first and forsaking all others.

BFF promptly protested that I could ever be selfish, I'm just too sweet. This is why we're buds-he knows flattery will get him everything:-)

I can't walk very far or very fast so BFF doesn't try to rush me, and lets me sit down whenever I need. He's the best walking companion! Very patient and considerate.

So, we're still strolling and he says to me, looking down, not really looking at me, that he thinks the real reason he hates nighttime so much is because that's when he feels his aloneness more. At night when he's home there are no phone calls, no silly conversations with his unselfish BFFs, no noisy, crowded restaurants, nothing but him and the TV.

"So that's why it's so easy for me to get him to do things!" I thought to myself. I was surprised and warmed that he had chosen to share that with me. His confession silenced me-the perpetual Chatty Cathy-and I couldn't think of anything to say. I just didn't know he was feeling like that. Was I too self-absorbed to understand that? Probably. I make him come with me to restaurants he hates, drive distances he'd rather not because of his poor night vision, and spend hours w/me at bookstores chatting and browsing the newest titles even though he's not much of a reader.

Wow, I've had my aha moment for the month. Here I am welcoming the darkness for the solitude and him hating it for the same reason! We're both complete opposites of each other in most everything from religious beliefs to politics to budgeting. I still don't know how we became fast friends. To prevent our differences from destroying a great thing, we don't talk or argue about them unless we have to and even then they're very PC. Ours is a delicate, crocheted pillowcase handed down from great grandparents that can be injured or destroyed with the slightest tug.

Tonight I made a decision to start asking him what he'd like to do and doing that rather than throwing out directives and expecting him to follow. I'm not going to be as busy when he calls wanting to do something, I'm going to go where he wants to go, and follow his lead. Sometimes.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Let's Hear It For The Girl!

Congratulations to both Justice Sotomayor and the Senate Committee which approved the appointment for Sotomayor's step into history! I hope she's an asset to our country by basing her decisions on what is right, rather than what is popular or expected.

I'm a conservative when it comes to crime and punishment. I believe judgements should be handed out fairly. One population, whether it be defined by race, sex or citizenship should not suffer harsher sentences than another. If two defendant's' cases are the same, both should receive equal punishment. Jamal Wallace should be held to the same punishment as Emilio Martinez. Jessica Smith, if her crime was equal to Agatha Schwartz should receive the same punishment.

I support the death penalty. If someone is malicious enough to slaughter whole families, rob and kill the weak or elderly, kill or severely abuse children, they should be hooked up to the nearest electrical outlet and the switch flipped. They should be placed over a huge vat filled with scalding hot Crisco and dipped repeatedly for each bullet, each stab, each injury they inflicted upon their victim. A Death Row sentence should be for 90-days, then death. None of these life sentences where you sit in a cell all day watching cable tv, having your catered meals delivered to you.

Sorry, went off on a bit of a rant there, didn't I? And this post was supposed to be cheery and fun. Okay, I'll end it on a cheerful note. Congrats to Justice Sotomayor. I wish I had cable and could watch the swearing in ceremony. I know her family's heart must be full right now. All the worry and tension during the meetings, the reviews of her past are all over. Now upwards and onwards!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

I Heart Bill Clinton

I really do! Of course during the whole Monica and Jennifer and whoever else drama that almost unraveled his presidency, I didn't like him. But I didn't want him to be impeached. Like most Black women and men, I felt most of those pointing blame at him were doing the same thing and what do you know, they proved us right!

I remember commenting w/my girlfriends, "If Hillary ain't leaving him, I'm not either." We all knew Hillary was not leaving the White House to become a divorced woman. She had too much riding on Bill (no pun intended) just like me.

So now Mr. Clinton withi his ailing body flew around the globe to help those two journalists who were wrongly imprisoned. I'm sure Korea thinks this is the snub felt around the world, by ignoring Mrs.Clinton only to heed Mr.Clinton's requests. That's not important. The only important thing is the ladies are free!

Yep, Mr. Clinton's come through again and you know, after meeting him and looking in those bright blue eyes, I knew immediately why Monica did it.

Monday, August 03, 2009

With Apologies To Julia Child

I've been trying to become a better cook. I've become a regular reader of cooking mags and websites in hopes of finding quick ingredient-lite dishes that can be made to bring envy to my co-workers and family members alike. I envision myself strolling into the on site cafeteria and proudly opening my freshly heated Ziploc containers that hold exotic, camera-ready dishes that stir the emotions of everyone in the surrounding area. There I sit, completely unaware of the salivating, lascivious stares my dishes receive while I gently bite into whatever it is I've cooked.

Thanks to following a couple of recipe sites on Twitter, I receive recipes of every type of food daily which saves me from culling endless sites. These sites highlight from ten to thirty recipes of everything from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to full blown lobster bakes.

Like most cooks, I substitute for ingredients I don't readily have available like onion, basil, rosemary, thyme, heavy cream etc. I'm sure those things will help make a dish better but hey, can't be that important can it? I mean, if it were really important to add basil why would it ask for such a small amount? I won't miss the flavour of 1tsp of basil will I?

Needless to say, I have had great success with some recipes, while there are others the alley cats are still angry with me about. But if you're an alley cat you should be glad you're getting anything that's not still attached to a tail right?

Today I'm trying a new recipe and I have most of the suggested ingredients. It's an Indian dish with curry, tumeric and the usual suspects (celery, onion, carrot, salt & pepper). I'm not sure, but I don't think this is going to be one of the successful recipes. It may have something to do with adding too much tumeric. I didn't know the bottle didn't have a shaker top so I opened the top and poured it in. I was able to get most of it out (I hope that yellow colour comes out of my new dishrag) so it shouldn't be that bad. Another thing is it's been in the crock pot since 11:30 this morning and the potatoes are still tough. I'll give it another couple of hours and see if the potatoes soften (fingers crossed).

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Road Trip

My brother and I recently returned from a road trip to Boise, Id to see the family. I had decided about two weeks prior that I wanted to be in Boise for the Fourth, a long held tradition. My brother wanted to be there too so we sat off that Thursday night for the trip, following the same path my parents and grandparents had followed almost 40 years ago.

I love road trips. I love traveling.

During the summers when my parents couldn't get time off to take us to Boise, they would send us by Greyhound or Continental. As we packed up my little car with suitcases, pillows and food, I thought about all the times we'd be at the bus station with our suitcases, pillows and food, my mother nervously reminding us of all the things we could and couldn't do; don't talk to strangers, don't leave the terminal with anyone who was not family, stay together, don't give anyone your food, don't spend all your money before getting to Boise, call the minute we got there or if there was any trouble.

We were so excited to be going alone and feeling mature above our ages (like all kids do at that age), we would only half listen. And God blessed-we never had a bad experience except when the bus broke down right out of Salt Lake.

Driving through the dark desert this time I kept thinking about how difficult it must have been for my parents to pack up three children and then travel with them in the car and not smother them or leave them in the desert. I'm sure we must have worn on them most of the time.

As we drove alone, I thought about how the scenery had or hadn't changed in all the years we had made the trip. The mountains are still stern and wondrous looking, the plains sparse with cattle and other livestock spotting here and there, the light of the lone farmhouse flickering there in the distance. Some of the cities have grown, still others have vanished completely. This is the road we're used to, not the snow-laden, treacherous road we traveled in December.

After spending about six days in Boise we drove down to Vegas and celebrated my birthday with the Twins in their new apartment in North Las Vegas. Now Vegas? Vegas changes more times than a baby with diarrhea! A trip down the Strip is an adventure because it's always changing! If Vegas is feeling the recession, it didn't seem like it the week we were there. The only sign of trouble that I noticed were two buildings that construction had stopped due to bankruptcy. Imagine this huge building in the middle of the Strip completely dark and deserted. A bit unnerving. In case you're wondering, I don't gamble. Didn't put even a penny in a machine. I hate working too much to spend my hard earned dough in a slot machine.

We made it back home at 3am Tuesday morning and I reported to work freshly showered and relaxed that same morning. Boy did I feel it by the end of the day though (hee hee). I fell into my bed, clothes and all, and didn't wake until six the next morning. I did waken sometime during the night to take off my clothes but can't remember when.

I've been blessed to do two road trips this year: driving from Jacksonville, Fl to Atlanta last March, and this Boise trip. I think the desert is so much more scenic than woods but I'm biased.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Self Centered

It doesn't take much to make me happy. I think. I'm pretty much laid back, an introvert trapped in an extrovert's mouth and body, wanting to be the proverbial wallflower but losing the fight most times.

I spend a lot of time thinking about me. How I'm feeling, how recent events impact me via my family, my direct reports, my neighbours, my country, my Christian beliefs. If there's an angle on how something impacts me, I'll find it.

Maybe it's because I've never had children. Although I've helped care for children I've never had to make those life-impacting decisions parents or guardians have to make for children.

There are a myriad excuses why I tend to be self-centered but the one excuse that keeps coming to mind is Self-Protection. The war against obesity continues to grow and every self proclaimed Soldier in the fight against the obese and obesity is beginning to get on my last nerve.

Headlines scream about fat passengers taking up two airplane seats and sucking up all the air. Insurance companies complain about skyrocketing costs of caring for the obese. News entertainers scream about how unfair it is that President Obama has nominated an obese woman as Surgeon General. How, they ask, is she able to lead the war against obesity when she herself smells like freshly fried chicken wings and hot sauce?

I am an unhealthy woman. I know that. Every time I wheeze after walking to and from my car. Each day that I sweat in cheaply made, bulletproof polyester outfits because I can't find my size in Macy's, Dillard's or any other mall store. Each glare or giggle from people in said mall stores, or restaurants, or grocery stores keep it at the forefront of my mind that I'm different.

So, as a defense mechanism, the wallflower develops a mouthy, "look, don't mess w/me and you'll have a great day" demeanor. That quiet, introvert becomes a drill sargeant who will ask if you'd like a picture rather than continuing to stare. It's becoming harder and harder to live out here but no one ever fainted because of difficult times. It makes us stronger right?

So I find the best of the cheap clothes that fit, get my toes done, have my makeup just right and walk out everyday into all the giggles and stares and overt hostility and I do what I have to do.

I'm not conceited, but I am self centered. I'm trying to get from day to day without you crippling me and if that means making me the most important person in my life, I'm gonna do just that.