The Family That Lived Outside My Door

I have been lucky to have a sweet family live outside my sliding glass door for the past several weeks.

I have watched their personal journey and felt at times like a giant gawker.

Here are the links to Post 1, Post 2, Post 3 and this is my last installment of the story of this miniature family.

I considered having a huge goodbye party like Oprah, but, well, didn’t want to detract any attention from her. After all, she had her show for 25 years, the Robirdsons haven’t been around quite that long.

When opening the squeaky screen door, one of the babies, who was considering leaving the nest, jumped ship so we were down to 3.

 

Then, just a day or two later, I could see that baby #2 was stretching his legs, trying to gather the nerve to make that big leap.

Then there were two. 

 While at work, the other 2 left. I came home to this:

We humans can become so self-absorbed that we, at times, forget about the other creatures we share this earth with. The Robirdsons are a family, different from ours yet the same. It truly makes me wonder if they are they more like us than we will ever know. After all, in the matter of a little over a month, the Robirdsons have had a family, cared for it, raised it and sent them on their way. It takes humans 20 years (more or less) to do the same thing.

I literally stare at my empty nest hanging outside my window and feel that bitter-sweet set of emotions. I miss seeing the little ones snuggling together all sweet and adorable and yet I know that this is what nature intends for every living thing.

Goodbye Robirdsons, thank you for sharing your precious family with me. Sorry if the goofy lady with the camera freaked you out at times but you reminded me that this world is full of wonders both big and small and they exist right in front of our eyes if we take the time to see them.

Thank you for that.

Days That Weren’t …. Winter

Although I do love living in a place with a change in seasons, this winter has been longer and tougher than most in my memories past.

A few weeks ago I showed you some picts from last spring, now I will show you a few that I took of the Missouri countryside before it turned blah and wintery.

A beautiful day in Autumn.

I should have been at work that day, but took a vacation day.

I wish I could get paid to drive around this beautiful country of ours and take in all of the beauty.

Now THAT would be awesome.

 

But wait, 

I guess since it was a vacation day, and I got paid for it, I did (technically) get paid to drive around and take pictures.

Sweet!

Always have to look at the bright side!

Goodbye 2010 and Bye to My 30’s

  When I was little, I used to think that people got the day off because it was MY birthday. It just so happens that my birthday falls on New Years Day, that may have been the real reason,

 just possibly.

So every year I guess it’s a little different for us New Years birthday people, we not only look favorably on the new year as a fresh start, but its also mixed with checking yet another year off the old age meter.

This year is a big one for me, I turn 40.

Goodbye to 2010 and goodbye to my 30’s. (sigh)

I’ve heard so much about 40 and how its all downhill from here.  I’ve even recently bought my first readers glasses because I’ve noticed that for some reason every label, set of directions and even some menu’s have decided to ‘Go Green’ and conserve ink by printing much smaller type. Sometimes avoiding the truth can be uplifting, so let me be in my little happy denial bubble!

Most people make resolutions on New Years, and I’m among the masses that have made a few myself over the years. Last year I actually accomplished one resolution, I quit smoking and I can proudly say I’ve been smoke free now for about 5 months. Yay me! It feels good to tackle a goal and then reach it.

The past few weeks have reinforced one important thing that I really took to heart about 10 years ago,

life is precious & it’s short.

It’s shorter for some than for others and we really don’t know what our future holds or if we hold much of a future on this earth.

I’m not depressed or crying over this,

I want to take life and grab it by the ears and just…

LIVE.

That one word can mean many different things to many different people. In my case, I don’t need to lead an exciting, action packed, adventurous life but I do want to do my best to lead a happy, peaceful life. I want to stop worrying about things that really don’t matter. I want to be kinder.

Instead of making new resolutions, I hope to instead just keep in mind everyday that I don’t want to waste my life crying about my eyesight waning or a line on the face appearing or the fact that I’ve reached a big milestone birthday. I want to thank God for my life and the people he’s blessed me with. I will thank him for everyday, even the ones that suck.

I don’t want to worry what others may think of how I look, what I say, etc.  Now I’m not saying that I go to Walmart in a Moo moo with my arse hanging out, I do want to present myself in a positive light. At the same time I refuse to obsess over the little things that don’t matter in the big scheme. It’s all about finding balance, the right balance for your life.

Life is a gift to every single one of us.

If you find yourself crying or depressed, fight it.

 I’m not saying that sadness isn’t a part of life, and creeps up on everyone at times, but let it out,

then fight against it.

Live

Laugh

Love

There’s much wisdom in those 3 words.

May your new year be filled with Peace.

May you laugh more, cry less.

May you count your blessings, and learn from failures.

May you see the beauty that is everywhere and thank God you can see it.

May you take the time to see it.

Be good to others and forgive old hurts.

Be good to yourself, and don’t just exist…

 LIVE.

Happy New year to all of you!

 

Really? That’s What They’re Singing?

I’m sure most of us have done it before,

 we’re singing merrily along thinking we know darn good & well what the words to the song we are singing are.

Until,

 someone starts laughing at you.

Not because we can’t carry a tune (which could very well be the case with me)

but because we’ve managed to mutilate the lyrics.

I can think of 2 songs off the top of my head that I’ve done that with.

Don Henley – Boys of Summer

These are the real lyrics:

Nobody on the road,
nobody on the beach.
I feel it in the air,
the summers out of reach

Empty lake, empty streets,
the sun goes down alone.
I’m driving by your house
though I know that you not home…

And I can see you
you brown skin shining in the sun
you got your hair combed back
sunglasses on baby.

And where they say “Your brown skin shining in the sun”, I remember thinking it was “Your breasts keep shining in the sun” (Like bikinis people!) That’s what I thought until one day my friend and I were riding along in the car, singing at the top of our lungs, and she stopped, mid lyric, and started laughing hysterically at me.

Good times!

Then there is a song most of us know, Winter Wonderland.

This time of the year always brings back this memory.

One of the verses’ goes like this:

Later on, we’ll conspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we’ve made,

Walking in a winter wonderland.

(I hear you singing!)

As a child, I remember our family riding home in the car singing along with the radio to this very song when my mom, stopped & started to laugh hysterically and my older brother muttered “What a dork” when they heard me singing;

“Later on we’ll perspire, as we dream by the fire”.

I don’t know about you, but I can see where MY lyrics make perfect sense.

In fact, I still sing MY lyrics sometimes.

Who among us hasn’t gotten a little too warmed up by the fire and had a little perspiration?

So now that I’ve shared some of my embarrassing lyric mishaps,

What songs & lyrics have you messed up in the past?

It’s All About You! Again!

Again today, it’s not about me. It’s all about YOU! Yes, You!

Ok, I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised when my idea for “It’s All About You” post last Friday was received so well.

Even more, I enjoyed the memories that the picture I posted brought forth in some of my readers. I mean I REALLY enjoyed them!

The word ‘really’ doesn’t describe my feelings well.

I authentically, categorically, honestly, no…INDUBITABLY enjoyed them. You guys are awesome!

I was touched by every one of your memories.

It evoked memories of loved ones,

childhood,

camp,

 family vacations,

 peaceful moments

 and even memories of a favorite movie.

I think its a great chance to remember how similar and how different the experiences that shape our lives can be.

Ok, ok, ok, enough of me babbling and getting all sentimental.

As I was saying, I enjoyed this so much, I’ve decided to make this a regular or semi regular part of my blog.

On Fridays I will post a picture and I will ask you to tell us what memory or feeling it brings out in YOU. You can post your memory or feeling short & sweet in the comment section, or if it inspires a tale better left for your blog, please link said tale back to the comment section so we can all share in your creation.

This last Monday, when I took a day off work to wander aimlessly around the country side with G2 (my camera) and a good friend who lives in the area, we stumbled across something interesting. On some winding country road that I probably couldn’t find again if you paid me, we decided to pull onto a gravel road to turn around. As we did, we were at first taken by the view, but as I was turning around, something caught my eye down a slight hill off to the side.

After I knocked away the “What a shame this classic sits here, rotting away” feelings, I remember weekends during the decade of big hair (yes the 80’s) and teen angst. I remember a local Hardees parking lot where everyone cool cruised around in their cool, and not so cool cars and hung out sitting on bumpers, walking around, some smoking, until the cops came and chased us all away.

Ahhhh, the memories…..

Wait, this isn’t about me today, it’s about you.

Close your eyes (ok, wait until you’ve read this first) then close your eyes and go back, or not so far back…….

What memories does this picture bring forth?

It was a Beautiful, Strange Day

Have you ever had a day where you saw more than one strange thing and just said WTF?

This last Monday was one of those days. It was a gorgeous day, the last day of a busy 4 day weekend for me.

Earlier in the morning, I walked a spectacular golf course with colors abounding.

It was so beautiful it was downright spiritual.

Then I met up with a great friend I’ve known since I was 16, (which was only a few years ago? HA!).

We had breakfast at a small town pub and then decided to explore the countryside.

Along the way I saw a tree with these laying under.

They look like alien brains!

Maybe I’m just too much of a suburbia girl that I’ve never seen this before but it was downright strange.

Anyone know what these are?

 

We were exploring Missouri wine country.

I live very close to Missouri wine country but not close enough!

I don’t say that because I’m a wino, I say that because Missouri wine country is downright beautiful.

Its made up of rolling hills looking over river bottoms, and small towns with quaint stores.

 

This is a winery just down the road from where that friend of mine lives. (It was taken a few days before.)

But on the day that we were exploring the countryside, we saw these and said “What the….?”

These are in someones yard, smack dab in the middle of one of those tiny quaint towns. I’d guess the population to not be more than 100 or so. 

More exploring, down gravel roads (in my formerly clean black car) and more beautiful color.

Again, if you knew how many pictures I took on this day, you’d laugh at me. 

 You’d say, “You’re so Craaaazzy”.

So my friend and I, we head back to the small town pub where we had coffee & breakfast.

Thats also where we had lunch.

There’s no Mc’y anything in this neck of the woods (Thank God).

I then give my dear friend a hug and we promise to get together again soon.

And I head home.

(The following were taken with my cell phone, G2 was put away resting after one heck of a workout, so that is why they is not the best quality.)

On my way home I see this:

 And you’re saying, “So?”

(Don’t you just love how I read your minds?)

I pass this road fairly often.

So imagine my surprise when I saw a tree taller than all in the land, towering over everything else.

Originally, I thought I was really losing it. That someone as visual as myself has missed this towering tree after all of these years.

Then logic set in and I realized I would have never have missed this tree….So….wtf?

Then I got closer.

(For the record, I was sitting at a stop light when taking this picture.)

So….its a pole, not a tree at all,

Nothing connected to it.

Except for what I can only assume are fake branches.

and I said…..

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm……

Just a Big Drip…

This is starting my busiest time of the year. And so far my schedule is chock full of stuff to do! Between birthday’s of little ones, one of my BFF’s moving back ‘to the area’ from too far away, taking photos of the gorgeous autumn colors, taking people photos, art & craft shows, oh and that thing called my 40 + hour a week job, things are crazy busy…and I love it.

BUT did that stop me from goofing off about a two weeks ago? No! It’s hard to believe I know, ME goofing off, the embodiment of all things serious. BAWAHAHAHAHa…

Ok, enough of that.

I had been mentioning during my White Chicken Chili recipe how I don’t like to use flash as it can cause shadows, and just isn’t as natural looking as (duh) nautural light, yadda yadda yadda. THEN while making my Grape Salad recipe I announced that in having to use my flash in my kitchen due to the lack of natural light, I found that flash could be fun!?

 Ok, stay with me here folks, I have a point coming soon.

Well this is the result of my fun. Yes I’m entertained VERY easily. This is a good quality though I assure you.

It ends up when using the flash to take pictures of water it freezes that nano second in time and you see what is really coming out of your faucet.

Elegant simplicity….

Sparkling jewels…. 

 And on this one, after a little photo processing magic with the colors, something interesting…

And Bubbles, you can see the air bubbles in the water. Is it just me, or is this actually pretty?

With this post I hope to make a point, besides the fact that I can be entertained by dripping water. 

First, that beauty can be found in the most ordinary things. Things that we never even really see in our everyday lives. Partly because its so mundane, so, well, ordinary that we don’t really ‘see’ it. Its there, to wash our dishes, to wash our hands, to fill that glass of water & quench our thirst, or in my case, to wash the grapes that I later ate to nourish myself (and immerse myself in yummyness)!

Also to remind those of us with running water that in some parts of this gorgeous world we live in, running water is a luxury. I don’t think it was until the disaster in Haiti that I ever even thought of that. We get so busy with our computers, our kids, our jobs, the TV, the Iphones, Blackberries and our everyday busy-ness, we forget how lucky we are and how beautiful IT really is.

Today, take a moment to appreciate the ordinary things in your life.

White Chicken Chili

This recipe is perfect for a football game.

This recipe is perfect for a party.

This recipe is good for your family, and for you.

Oh and did I mention, this chili won an award? I think I did here. And o.k., it wasn’t exactly an AWARD, but it was a prize.

This recipe is good for a chili cookoff contest at work, because I know. Thats where I won a prize! My 40 hour a week job held a chili cookoff and I won with this exact recipe. It was up against about 12 other red chili recipes and it took first place.

I was in Weight Watchers for a while & put the ingredients into their point calculator & IF I remember correctly, and IF you go easy on the cheese & sour cream, for one cup, its only about 5 points and pretty filling, not to mention deeelicious!

So here we go, this is what you will need: (In the photos, I halved the recipe because I didn’t need a full recipe, the below ingredients are a full recipe.)

8 chicken breast halves, boneless, skinless

4 cans Great Northern white beans, undrained (I actually prefer a little less beans so I only add 3 cans to a full recipe)

2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped

2 Tbsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp Olive oil

8 oz minced green chilis

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1/2 tsp Pepper

3 cups chicken broth

3 cups of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Here we go:

Boil chicken for about 45 minutes. Remove from water and let cool.

While chicken is cooling, chop onions & saute with Olive oil & garlic in your empty pan (that you used to boil the chicken in).

Once  your chicken has cooled a bit chop or shred it while your onions are sauteing, don’t forget to stir your onions now and then so that they cook evenly.

 

Oh, and didn’t I just say to saute your onions & garlic in your big pot? Well, thats the efficient, less dishes way of doing it. For some reason I used a seperate skillet, but its ok, all the same outcome, only another dish to do. I don’t know why I did it.

Maybe it was aliens!

Oh and I know the above photo is a bit dark, but I don’t like to use flash. Flash causes shadows and its just not as purty looking.

BUT since my kitchen does not have a lot of natural lighting, I think I’ll (reluctantly) start using a flash sigh.

I apologize for all of you non photography buffs who just fell asleep. WAKE UP, I’m moving on.

After your onions & garlic are sauted until tender, add Chilies, oregano, Cayenne Pepper and Pepper into your cooking pot.

Now put in your chicken, undrained beans and chicken broth & stir.

 

 Simmer for 30 minutes, then turn off heat and add 1 1/2 cup of cheese. Stir in while hot so that cheese melts & blends in.

When you fix a bowl, put a dab of light sour cream & top with a little more cheese & jalapenos if desired, stir and enjoy!

Hope you like it! 

My Sunday A.D.D. Moment

 

So there I am, watching my taped Oprah shows from the week, getting ready to paint my nails, when my  hubby, G1 came into the room to ask me to check the email and print off his Football picks while he cleans one of his man caves aka The Garage.

“Sure honey,” I say, “I’m glad you caught me before I started my nails!”

– I get up and go to the computer.

– Where I first check MY email.

– Then I have to check another one of my emails.

– OH, my friend Pam emailed, need to respond now.

– Check another Blog that I love to read.

– Moderate a comment left on my blog.

– Check link from comment.

– Leave a comment.

– I look over, see I never made the bed.

– I go make the bed.

– Pick up clothes, take downstairs to do the laundry.

– While doing laundry, realize I forgot to print the picks.

Dangit

– Go back to computer.

– Check Twitter.

– Oh look at that link.

– Check link (another several minutes go by).

– Check the weather for the week.

– Crud, I need to go start supper.

– Half way to the kitchen remember I forgot to print the picks.

Dangit

– Go back to computer.

– Check printer for paper.

– Put more paper in printer (Finally, progress!)

– Oh, I haven’t checked Facebook today.

– I go look at Facebook.

– Go back to WordPress to check my blog.

– Start this blog post.

– While I’m writing this post, G1 comes in and asks for the football picks.

– I laugh hysterically at myself.

– G1 thinks I’ve finally lost it and goes back to his garage, shaking his head.

I wonder if those picks will ever get printed.

I wonder if my nails will get done.

I wonder if dinner will ever get made.

Oh, what’s that? I’ve received a new email…..

P.S. After I screwed my head back on straight, the picks were printed, my nails look beautiful and I will be posting my recipe for a different kind of Delicious Chili later this week. This chili even won an award! Well, kinda.