Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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10 Things That Make Me Happy

One of my friends wrote a post on her blog and I thought I’d give it a shot. You can read hers here http://www.bridgetmcguiresfillingstation.blogspot.com/

I don’t know that I can put these in any specific order, I don’t want anyone to get their feeling hurt, so I’ll just write them as they come to me.

10. Cooking. it’s so funny, I have become what I call your friendly neighborhood Betty Crocker. Ten years ago, I was a newly minted chiropractor out to save the world and cooking was the last thing on my mind. In fact, I was very pregnant and looking forward to becoming a mother, not a chef. I have found a love of cooking and especially trying new recipes. dinner in my house is never boring, I can tell you that for certain. My kids, well, they will say otherwise. They don’t love everything I make. I dont’ love everything I make, but that’s how you learn.

9. Traveling. I have always enjoyed traveling to new places that we haven’t visited before and seeing the architecture and learning about the history and culture of the places we’re visiting. We have been some really interesting places, like Bermuda, Bahamas, Mexico, Napa, US Virgin Islands, Hawaii. I still have a rather long bucket list of places I want to see before I die. At the top of my bucket list is Italy. My friend, ‘Bridget McGuire’ just returned from 10 days in Italy and the pictures she’s shared are simply amazing!

8. My children. I have been blessed with two beautiful and amazing children who have changed me immeasurably. You know they say you will never truly understand what it is to be a parent until you are one, and it’s true. I am so proud of these little people. They are adorable, precious, and maddening all at the same time. They fight and bicker with one another, but I love them more than I can ever begin to express. They are so much fun to be around, they make me laugh, cry, and scream every single day! Watching them grow is such a joy and privilege. I just hope that I can do a good job helping them grow into productive, respectful, intelligent people. My son is so handsome and sweet. He’s a very caring child who wants to make people laugh. When he was younger, he never had baby talk, he was very articulate at a very early age. People were amazed at how well he spoke as a two year old. My daughter is a beautiful, blue-eyed girl. She was the sweetest, most laid-back baby ever. But when she hit 22 months, it was as if someone told her ‘you’re almost 2, you’d better act like it’ and since then all bets are off! She’s very strong-willed and knows what she wants. She’s a princess one minute, and a tomboy the next.  She loves to perform, dancing and singing are what she really enjoys.

7. Writing. Writing in some way, shape, or form has been a part of me since high school, maybe earlier. I remember keeping a journal when I was younger. In my 20’s, my journal was my best friend as I was going through a particularly hurtful breakup. It was my therapist and my catharsis. I still journal, just not as often as I used to, I blog instead! I’m also working on a novel about a 20 something young lady who moves from the midwest to LA. She’s been languishing on my hard drive for years, and I’m determined to finish her story, if for nothing else, for myself and the knowledge that I’ve completed it. That and I’ve got another story in mind that comes from my friend’s incredible life.

6. Learning. I feel like the perpetual student, but I really enjoy learning new things. I can’t say that I learn something new every day, but I do enjoy reading and studying and discovering things that I didn’t know. My son is going into the 5th grade and last year in helping him with some projects, I learned things that I had no clue about prior, and it was really fun. I like to exercise my brain through learning. I keep telling my children that they don’t know everything, and neither do I, but we can find it out. The internet is such a wonderful resource. I really wish it had been around when I was growing up, it would have made researching topics for projects so much easier!

5. The beach. My friend wrote that Notre Dame is her happy place. Mine is the beach, any beach as long as it’s on an ocean. Although at this specific point in time, I’m very sad to know that many of the beautiful Gulf beaches are being polluted by the oil spill and it’s a real tragedy and a travesty. Anyway, maybe it’s because I’m a cancer, the crab, a water sign, that I find the beach so soothing. To have my toes in the sand, smell the salty sea air, hear the waves crashing on the beach, to me, that is heaven right there. If I get my way, we’ll retire to a beach condo. That’s a while off still, but I’ve put in my order!

4. My friends. I have been blessed with some really good friends that I’ve met in some really interesting ways. My friend Bridget McGuire, we met while on a cruise 10 years ago and have kept in touch with. My BFF and I have been friends for over 10 years, my husband met her at a bank while he was opening an account. Another friend, well, this one is pretty wild, she was the girlfriend of a boyfriend of mine (LOOONG story). He was a POS and neither of us knew it, but the best revenge we could’ve gotten on him was becoming friends. Facebook has helped me reconnect with so many people from my past that I would not be in touch with otherwise.

3.  My love. My husband and I have been together for 14 years now and it feels like the blink of an eye. He is my best friend, he still makes me laugh and tells me he loves me every night before we go to sleep and in the morning as he’s leaving for work. He was my willing guinea pig while I was in chiropractic school and my taste tester for my new recipe concoctions. We started off as co-workers and friends at Bed Bath and Beyond. Musci trivia was how we really got to know each other. I tried to set him up with my friends. He was a really good guy and I was planning on moving out-of-state to go to college. None of them were interested and I don’t know why. One night, we were going to a movie, as friends, and I looked at him and thought, ‘Boy, he’s really cute, why am I trying to set him up with my friends?” And that was it. He gave me a good night kiss that night and we’ve been inseparable ever since! funny how things work out.

2. Trying new things. I’m always up for something new, be it food, activities, places.  To me, that’s what makes things interesting. Some things I like, Cabernet franc anyone? Others not so much, like Alice in Wonderland. I really enjoy going to a restaurant and trying a dish I’ve never had before. Once we were in Cozumel, I ordered ceviche. I’ve had ceviche before, but this had octopus in it! that was pretty wild. And yes, I did eat it. It completely grossed out my husband, but he tried it too!

1.  Introducing my children to new things. Every time we travel with our kids, I encourage them to do or eat things they never have before. On our vacation last year, my daughter tried Brussels sprouts (gag).  My son tried them on our Disney vacation this year. I have been very happy with them at least taking one bite of something new before deciding if they like it or not.  Taking them places they’ve never been and showing them fun new things, or to help them appreciate all that we have is really amazing. We went on a cruise last year and one of the stops was Grand Bahama Island. We rode a bus from the ship to a beach and to get to the beach, we passed some really sad and run-down neighborhoods. It was such a contrast, you have the gorgeous beaches and people living in poverty. it really made me appreciate what we have and I try to help our children understand that every chance I get as well.

Now I challenge some of my blogging friends to do the same!

http://valcitygal.wordpress.com/

http://theonearmedchef.wordpress.com/

http://www.ontheglam.com/

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Humble Pie, anyone?

You know, I thought I learned my lesson living in LA. Apparently I forgot those lessons. Why? You ask? Well, I realized yesterday that I had been doing something that I swore I never would do. I grew up around people who were highly judgemental of others. They felt that they were above everyone else because of clothing, employment, religious beliefs, etc. Things that are completely irrelevant in the real world, things that have nothing to do with the kind of person someone is. I always tried to not act that way, but when I moved to LA, I had no other frame of reference, so when I met people who were different in one way or another, I would distance myself from them, without taking the time to get to know the person. Then my friend Bob made me realize the error of my ways.

And then yesterday my epiphany: I had partially reverted to those old ways. I was not ‘friending’ people on Facebook because of silly things. People who I’d been friends with growing up, but had lost contact with. Stupid things, lame excuses and reasons. I had ignored several friend requests from one specific person. My thoughts were, oh well, we have nothing in common now, and looks like someone’s had a rough life.’ Like I said stupid things.  I heard Sandra Bullock’s Oscar speech and I keep playing that in my head. No class system, race, color, or religion makes one person any better than another. That is so true. I used to believe that, but was slapped in the face that I had fallen off the wagon, and I wasn’t happy with myself for it. I am not any better than anyone else. Well, maybe other than someone who’s a hardened criminal who commits violent crimes just because. Who am I to think that I’m any better than any of these people who want to be in contact with me again? Now dont’ get me wrong, I don’t accept friend requests from people I totally don’t know. Never will. but…You get where I”m going with this.

I lived in California and had my eyes opened to the bigger world, I’m not the tunnel-vision, hyper-critical, judgemental person that moved out there. And I promise you one thing, I will work my hardest to never be that way again. Any time I catch myself with a nasty thought about how someone looks, I reverse it and remember who I sound like as I think it. The person I don’t want to sound or be like. And remember that someone else may be thinking the same thing about me!

Let’s all try to be more accepting of others, not make snap decisions about them based solely on their wardrobe, skin color, or religion. We all make bad wardrobe choices occasionally. Skin color, well, we can’t do much about that one, it’s how God made us, the colors of the rainbow. Religion, my thought about that is, I think they are basically all different means to the same end. Don’t get me wrong, I do not condone anyone who uses their religion to commit violent crime against humanity. but to use religion to discriminate or ridicule or persecute others, not acceptable.

Ok, off my soapbox. I’m finished with my humble pie. Anyone else want a slice?

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The Book and Its Cover

I try to not be too preachy or philosophical. I really would love it if we could do what Rodney King wanted and all just get along. Live peacefully together, along side one another, no matter our color, race, religion, sexual orientation. Just one big happy family. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? No one judging someone else  because of something superficial.

I was going through some old photos in search of a co-worker from my LA days. He recently died from cancer and I wanted to put up a picture I have of him. As I was going through these photos, I found some of another co-worker who became a very dear friend. And that dear friend is the reason for the title of my post.

A little history of me: I was brought up in Oklahoma, the center of the country. Good old boy country.  Redneck country. Although I feel like I’m pretty far from being a redneck, I have been surrounded by those ideologies my whole life. I’ve been surrounded by people who rather than going along with the adage “If you cant’ say something good, don’t say anything at all’, would whisper and snipe and spew venom and pick other people apart acting as if they were somehow superior to these people. Even though it was quite possible they had no idea about the other person, where they came from, what they had been through, etc. That sounds like the classic judging of a book by it’s cover.

So, naturally, when I moved, I was flung into the most amazing culture shock I’d ever seen at that point in time. I’ve seen much worse now, but then, it was like night and day, literally. I had barely ventured beyond the borders of my state when I made the trek half-way across the country to move to LA. My concept of the world was, um, pretty narrow, I guess is a good way to put it. Very sheltered. Where I’d grown up, it was very white-bread, not a whole lot of diversity.

When I got my job in LA, my eyes were opened in a way I never thought possible. I was in the minority there.  I was outnumbered by blacks, Hispanics and Phillipinos. It was a really strange feeling, really to stand out like that. And being a very fair-skinned person among all of these people of color, well, let’s say at first I felt like the proverbial turd in the punchbowl. Oh, and the whole Oklahoma thing. They loved teasing me about that one. When I first started there, they asked me if we had electricity, cable tv and hot water! I get it, though. All you ever see of our part of the country is westerns or read it in the history books about the cowboys and Indians. A lot of the guys who would tease me were LA born and bred and had never really been outside of LA. Why would you need to? Everything you could possibly want to do is right there: museums, beaches, sports, concerts, amusement parks, skiing, it’s all there.

The first time I saw Bob, I was terrified. He was goth from head to toe. An asymmetrical haircut that, sorry Bob, looked oddly reminiscent of Kate Gosselin, a long hank of bangs on one side and shaved on the other. Goatee, skull earring, skull collar points, black shirt, black pants, black Doc Martins and glasses. A guy’s gotta see you know. I caught a glimpse of him and the wall became my new best friend. I had never seen a goth person in my  life outside of the movies. I didn’t know exactly what to make of him. I know I was rude, whenever he spoke to me in the halls, just to say hello, or anything, I completely ignored him, I was certain that he wanted to make me part of some weird blood sacrifice ritual on the full moon. I was also certain that he must be on drugs, wasn’t that what Goths did? I didn’t get that whole goth lifestyle. To be perfectly honest, I still don’t get it, but hey, people are people. You have to do what you feel is best for yourself and as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else or involve a felony, I say, fine, go for it. You want to cover yourself from top to bottom in tattoos? Go for it. win the Guinness title for the most body piercings, fine, knock yourself out. I’m not into that much pain, but hey, go for it.

Then one day, my whole idea was tossed on it’s ear. Bob and I worked on opposite floors and since the lunch breaks were staggered by floor, we never had lunch together, until my department was moved upstairs to the same floor as his. I don’t remember exactly how it happened. Maybe one of us was sitting at a table with other people. I can’t remember exactly. What I do remember was being shocked at how funny and intelligent he was, still is. The more we talked, the more I liked him. He was a great guy. Very sweet and thoughtful and not at all what I expected when I first saw him. We became very close friends, which, unfortunately, his wife wasn’t too crazy about. I tried to be friends with her too, I did. I didn’t have any romantic designs on him, I loved him as a friend, still do. But it was just too much for her, so I tried to stay out of the way. I didn’t want to cause any friction between them.

I moved back to Oklahoma and lost touch with Bob. It made me sad to lose his friendship, but being 1200 miles apart and being afraid to call for fear of getting him into trouble makes it difficult. Last year, I found my wonderful friend again on Facebook. Say what you will about it, but I am so happy to have found him again. he’s such a special person. I’m happy to report he’s recently remarried to a lovely lady who apparently is not quite the jealous type. I haven’t met her yet, but I hope to some day in the not so distant future.

So….the moral of my story is really what they say, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, if you do, you may miss out on a wonderful friendship, or even more. That time in my life was really transformative in the way that I view myself and other people. I came back a completely different person than when I left, and for the better. I would wish that for anyone. A journey of self-discovery, find out who you are, what you want in life and go find it. I didn’t know what I wanted when I was there, but the things that I saw and learned while I was there, I think, helped me become the person that I am now and helped me get where I needed to be to find the people and situations that were going to be my future.

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A hair-on-fire weekend

All I can say is thank you God we made it home and I didn’t have to kill anyone or get into trouble for tying my children to the roof of the car! Our niece got married over the weekend outside of Peoria, Illinois. I really wish she could’ve picked a warmer time of year to do it, but since she didn’t ask my opinion on the date, we just had to go with what she wanted.

We have been planning on making the trip for a few months now, with the provision that if there was bad weather, we’d cancel, no doubt. I’m not putting my family in danger for anything. So the forecast for the week initially was looking fine, cold, but clear. Well, you know how weather is, it can be a bit unpredictable at times. suddenly we had on the radar this freight train of frigid air coming our way. One weather man called it a “Siberian Express’ and that’s exactly what it was.  The coldest temps we’d seen in 16 years. Thankfully, we didn’t get any snow out of it, but guess who did! Yup, Peoria got about 8”. yay.

The closer it gets to be time, the worse the forecast looks. Temps close to zero with below-zero wind chills, snow, blowing snow, cold, cold, and FREAKING COLD!  By Wednesday, I’d decided we shouldn’t go. It was looking like a monster storm and after having driven through blinding snow storm once before, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of doing it again. Especially when it wasn’t an absolute necessity. It’s not like I’m out of wine and HAVE to get out!

We woke up to sunshine and no new snow on Thursday. I checked the road conditions and it appeared that it was going to be ok for us to go. The only real problem was the wind and potential for blowing snow. Ugh, that damned blowing snow again. I decided to suck it up, get over my fear and pack up the car for our abbreviated drive. We drove to St Louis, 6 hrs away and stayed w/friends we haven’t seen in years. That’s a story I need to write a post about, how to really make friends. Anyway, the roads were fine. A bit patchy, but not bad at all. Although I did have a moment of panic when we came around a curve and the visibility was really poor. Oh crap! I thought. What have we gotten ourselves into? thankfully, it was just blowing the stuff that was already on the ground.

Friday we got up and made our way to Peoria, three hours away. The farther north we went, the deeper the snow and drifts became. And the more blowing snow was on the ground. It was that fine,powdery, dry snow that just kept going right on across the highway, mostly. There were some ugly spots that made me bite my lip. Oh, and the cloudy, gray, bleak, snow-covered landscape that is just so dreary doesn’t help anything. I’m getting cold just thinking about what it looked like!

We made it fine. although, I have to admit, the texture of the snow was not what I was prepared for. It was dry and crunched under foot, not like what we get here, it’s always wet and slushy.  or layered with sleet. It  was something, that’s for sure.

The wedding was beautiful and it was so nice to see people we don’t get to see often. What I did learn from this, is something I already knew, but now there’s no doubt in my mind: I want to retire to a beach house! I am such a wimp for the cold weather. Last week all I could say to the good people of Siberia was “We’d appreciate it if you would keep your cold air to yourselves!”

Just to make sure you’re with me on all this, we drove 6 hours on Thursday, 3 hours on Friday, Saturday was the wedding, and then home for another 9 hours on Sunday. Yep, hair-on-fire. Oh, and we forgot the hang-up bag at the hotel. Brilliant. Thankfully, my husband’s sister lives near the hotel and picked it up for us and is shipping it to us. Deep breath. Glad it’s over!

***NOTE*** To all of my friends and family, just a little note for you to keep in mind when planning your next wedding: Do it in summer or on a beach if you wanna see my shining face! That is all.

Have a good night.

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If looks could kill….

So last night we went to a school foundation fundraiser dinner.  It was an adult-only affair, black and white and lots of fun. There was a silent auction that seemed to go on for days with baskets all contributed by the various schools and administrators, a live auction with things such as a 7 day vacation for 4 at Atlantis, and dinner that was not bad.

Our friends and neighbors who live two doors down were in charge of a corporate sponsored table, so we were invited to sit with them which equated to a free dinner and evening sans enfants.  We had been invited last year, but I managed to get the worst case of food poisoning in my life the night before and spent two days laid out on my couch.

We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but knew it would be a good time.  The doors opened at 6 and dinner was to be served at 7:30 with the live auction following.

My husband had to work all day, so I knew we wouldn’t be there at the crack of 6.  No big deal I thought, there’s an hour and a half between doors and dinner.

I was surprised to find out they closed two sections of the silent auction by the time we arrived just past 7 and the third closed within ten minutes of our arrival.  Oh well, saves me some money, right?

We buzzed through the remaining open silent auction sections then to our table for dinner. I was expecting rubber chicken, it’s normally what you get a at a hotel-catered event of this size, but we were pleasantly surprised to get prime rib in addition to our rubber chicken.  It was bland, but not bad once it had adequate salt and pepper.

Then the real excitement started.  They had a team of real-live auctioneers to do the live auction.  If you’ve never heard that, it’s really something.  Everything was just humming right along until they came to the puppies.  Yes, I said puppies.  OMG the cutest little balls of fluff.  There were two silky terrier pups that were only 10 wks old and just way too cute to be legal!  Our friends I referred to a moment ago already have three cats and two turtles.  The wife has no interest in a dog, and especially not a small dog.  She has said if they were to get a dog, she wanted a larger one, like a Lab.  Well, the husband just fell in love with these little puppies.  The first one went for $700.  Yes, I know, $700 for a puppy when there are loads of them in shelters, I’m with you on that one.  So bidding begins on the second, and I think the auctioneer realized he’d tapped out his audience on the first one dropped the bid to $300.  Then our friend took his life into his own hands, stuck up his hand and yelled “FOUR!”

I think if my friend’s head could’ve spun all the way around at any time in her life, it would have happened last night.  She gave him the evil eye and told him he’d better not get it.  Try though he did, the auctioneer didn’t get any other bids and our neighbors are now proud new owners of a $400 puppy.  At the moment when the auctioneer said “SOLD!” my friends eyes nearly popped right out of her head.  I have never in my life, in the whole 4-1/2 years we’ve known them, seen her that PISSED!  She refused to touch it, she told him they weren’t keeping it.  And all the while, he’s holding this puppy with a Cheshire-cat grin.

I haven’t seen them today, but I”m interested to see how he slept on the couch last night!  I always wonder what makes people do things like that when they know the consequences when they get home are going to be ugly.

Oh well, at least it wasn’t my husband buying something that I specifically asked him not to!  Maybe I should offer him the spare room!

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