Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lately

Lately, I've had lots and lots of thoughts in my wee little brain.

1. I'm thankful...thankful for little things, like flowy shirts that hide the 20 lbs (!!!!) that I've gained back and am trying to lose.  Again.  Welcome to real life, friends.

2. I'm hungry...especially for Hillstone Restaurant Group, which includes places like Houston's and Bandera.  The food is fabulous and so is the atmosphere and if I had all the money in the world, I would eat there all the time.  

But then, it's a good thing I don't have all the money in the world.  See #1.

3. I'm tired...and here's why.  I  might be the only one who feels this way, but...I feel like in an effort to make this country more tolerant of everything, that we have become an extremely intolerant nation.  I have always loved talking to people who have different beliefs than myself....sharing what I think and why I think and then listening to my friends talk about why they disagree.  

If we are a body of people that agree on only one thing...well, who wants to be a part of that?  Are you voting for  a candidate that I'm not?  Are you using a bathroom that I'm not?  Ok, then...I'm going to make a roast chicken dinner, pour some wine and sit in my garden with you and talk in a way that people do when they lead with love.  

Will we end up agreeing?  Probably not.  But I'm not going to unfriend you on social media or not invite you to my next garden party...instead, I'm going to throw on some super loud Abba music and dance with you until my 50 year old hips can't dance anymore.  Because that's what grown up's do.

4.  I'm stressed.  Work.  Trying to make the dollars stretch to pay tuition.  It's keeping us both awake at night and sometimes I wonder if, rather than following a call...a divine call, if we shouldn't have chosen occupations that actually pay real money?

But I know.  I know with ALL my heart.  I know that both that guy that I like so much and I were chosen.  Handpicked by a divine Lord.  We are doing what He has asked and while it's so far from easy, the reward is so beautiful and great.  It doesn't make the tuition payments any easier but this too shall pass because all this is temporary and I believe that with my whole heart.

I really do.

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5. I'm blessed.  This little house on this little street is a gathering place for so many and it's become a place of rest for so many.  I'm struggling with the negatives...with focusing on all the 'not-so-goods' lately but I need to stop and look around.  We have been given so much...but why is it easier to focus on the negatives rather than on the positives?

So here it is.  The house is clean.  The risotto tonight, with chicken and arugula, was pretty gosh darn good.  The music...Marc Cohn, is playing in the background.  And BuddytheDog had an impromptu play date tonight with JacksontheDog and all went well.  

The goods have far outweighed the bads tonight.  By a mile.

6. I'm struggling.  There it is...I'm struggling.  

With what?  

With trying to find my new normal.  The normal with no boys left to raise.  My whole being...the who and what I am,  has been about these boys of mine.   I'm still trying to figure this next stage out and it's not easy, my friends.  It's not easy at all.  I miss the noise and the chaos and the fridge opening a hundred times and the laundry and one more time...the noise.

I like quiet.  A lot.  But it's super quiet here.  

And I struggle with ending this blog because let's face it,  I no longer have a houseful of boys.  So I'm thinking it's time...but yet, I'm hanging on.  But maybe it's time to end it?

Sigh.

7. I'm wishing.  A marble slab?  Ok.  Please.

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8. I'm forcing...forcing myself to get back out on my beautiful, lovely, sacred trail.  Hiking does something to me.  It heals me.  I complain and talk and listen and cry and pray and it just completely settles me back into being a normal, calm, whole person.  

Buddy and I have hit the trail a few times this week and it's been glorious...and thankfully free from rattlesnakes.

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9. I'm ok.  I really am.  I'm sad about friendships that have changed and happy about new ones that are growing.  I love that Snooze (a breakfast place from Boulder) has come to my little town.  My boys are all healthy...and doing ok.  The garden is so beautiful and I'm loving that people still want to gather here. 

And that last batch of wine we bought has been spot on delicious.

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And that's about it.   

Tonight we are actually gong to turn on our televisoion...something kinda rare for us.  There are a few shows taped and we're going to try them out.  I loved Parenthood so very, very much and the new show This Is Us is supposed to be similar....so we'll try it out.  

But for reals...the moment I turn the tele on, I fall asleep.  I'm exciting like that.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Out and About


My very favorite place to eat is at my girlfriend's house and I'm not sure how many times I can say the same thing, but here it is:

If you don't have a Turkish neighbor....get one.  Quickly.

Lucky, lucky me.  The food is always incredible and I even eat yogurt while I'm there and let me tell you, I am a believer that yogurt should be banned from the planet because I just. don't like. it. at all.  But she puts stuff in it....stuff like cucumbers and green things and love and stirs it all up and calls it by a fancy Turkish name which makes me believe that I'm not really eating yogurt...until I go to throw the trash away and see the empty container in the bin.

But that's ok.  I forgive her.

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I've been blessed in the girlfriend department and especially the last few weeks where I've managed to spend time with so many different circles of friends.  I've needed that lately because it just feels like life has been full speed ahead...so garden time, both in mine and in theirs,  has been like therapy.

That guy that I like so much was away for the weekend and for the first time in 26 years, I spent a night alone on my own house.  Yes, he's travelled lots but there has always been a boy or two or three here at all times...but for the first time ever I found myself at home on Saturday night.

Alone.  All night long.  Since Matthew was born.  Isn't that crazy?

Dinner involved my favorite seasonal beer, a few handfuls of tortilla chips, a long hot bath and a really great book and a few hallmark movies and I'd like to say that I was lonely, but it was a really, really nice, much needed, super quiet night.  

I love quiet when followed by chaos and chaos when followed by quiet...and Saturday night was quiet.  Much needed quiet.

Oh...and the house was SO clean!

Brian had his roomies here for his birthday dinner...I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that Brian is 18.  And in college.  In a dorm.

Strange.

This houseful of boys is no longer a houseful of boys.

Super strange.

While that guy that I like so much was on retreat with his choir, I unloaded our shed, sorted through everything and threw half of it away.  I've been purging all summer and this was yet another space on the list.  It feels so good to get rid of stuff...once the weather cools, my hope is to conquer the attic.  Maybe.

Don't worry...the beer made it into the 'keep' pile.

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Sunday morning I drove towards the mountains and picked up Matthew.  I love the town of Redlands where he lives...it just seems to fit my mountain-loving boy.  It's a big city but feels small and has such great history and architecture and fun places to eat.

Plus, I like that he's closer to home even though the drive isn't an easy one.

We went to church together and heard the Concordia choir sing in their first service of the year, which is always special to me.  We had lunch with Matteo after at a super cute spot before heading back to the OC...just in time for Sunday football and a nap.

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Monday was a baking day and the house smelled SO GOOD...like cinnamon and spice and everything nice.  

Not pictured...flour EVERYWHERE and a sink (and counters) full of dirty dishes.  But I heard everything tasted ok so it was all worth it.

Last week we were gifted last minute tickets to the Hollywood Bowl...the kind of groovy tickets that included the fancy parking and the even fancier box seats.  I grumbled...and maybe even shed a rather fake tear because I was tired and didn't want to drive to Los Angeles during rush hour, but then I remembered how hard that guy that I like so much works and how this is so much his thing and they were really great tickets and so I threw a whole bunch of food in a bag (and a great bottle of wine) and off we went.

And once again, God spoke.  

The drive there was easy and so was the parking.  The seats...well, we had our own little four person box for just the two of us and they were front and center, exactly where a conductor likes to sit so he can watch the conductor.  I'd somehow thrown together a super awesome dinner out of what was in the fridge and as the sun started to set, we both just did that whole deep breath thing...that kind of deep breath where you exhale and all the stress of real life comes out and you feel like you want to stay in that peaceful bubble forever.

The music was beautiful and I'm so glad we made the trek there.  It just felt like we had a whole weekend away and it was just a few hours.  We needed that.

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The next morning came early but that was ok...most mornings do.  Coffee helps.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

He's 18!


Happy Birthday to the youngest of our trio of boys.

18.

And all grown up.

He's all settled into college life, loves his roommates,  is missing good italian food, and is still the same, joy-filled, chatty, athletic kiddo he was yesterday when he was still 17.  I miss having him around a whole lot but am trying to find that balance of just enough meddling with too much meddling and who am I kidding...I'm a mother and the balance will never be perfect.

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But each and every day, I thank God for the exclamation point at the end of our family.  I remember the day he was born well...(9-8-98...isn't that great??!!) and he was, and still is, a gift.

Happy Birthday, Bri.  

Come home soon...I'll make meatballs.

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Oh What A Week


I have never been so happy to see a week come to a close as this last one.  It was a good one...and a productive one.  But there were SO MANY grumpy people to deal with, from work people to my boys to, well...me.  I was grumpy and I really don't know why.

But then the weekend came.

I finally pulled it together mid-week and did what I know works best for me.  I set my alarm 30 minutes earlier than I needed to be up and walked into the dark kitchen, made a pot of coffee and then spent a little quiet time praying.   I began to read a few verses in the psalms and just couldn't get my brain focused enough but instead ended up handwriting a few out anyway. 

And while I wrote I just talked to my God...my big, big God who holds all the answers yet lets me feel like I have some say in the matter.   Oh, how good He is to me.  And kind.  

And that day, that regular Wednesday in the middle of the start up of all my programs, I had such a great day.  Sure, there were problems.  Sure, one of my boys was still being a bit of a jerk.  Sure, the tire pressure light was still on in my (free, work) car.  Sure, I still couldn't seem to pull it together enough to cook a real meal for my family.

But there was this very strange, very real sense of peace...almost like I was wrapped in bubble wrap.  

Why don't I turn everything over to God right away?  Is my sleep more important?

The answer became very clear to me.

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And also this week I saw the end of a friendship that has, for a long, long time, meant so much to me.  But it was a toxic friendship and in a very grown up way,  we chose to break up.  The end of relationships are always hard for me and I tend to hang on even when I know that I'm not being treated fairly.  

Or, gulp...when I'm not treating someone fairly.  Because sometimes, sadly,  it goes both ways.


Things at work have calmed and I should know better that at the beginning of every school year things are just rough.  Some years rougher than others...and this one falls into that category, but now, like it always does, it's all seemed to work itself out.

Hallelujah.  Amen.

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The house is so quiet these days and while I still have one chick who is still living here, the 6 day, 60 hour work weeks keep his bank account happy and his presence here seldom.  It's just strange.  Life...and the progression of it.  I've always heard people say to enjoy every minute of your littles being little but you know what?  Breastfeeding and sleepless nights and diapers are hard.  Toddlers are hard.  Teenagers are just plain hard.

That doesn't mean it's not good but I honestly don't think we allow ourselves the courage to feel those feelings...and to admit them.

But now...the quiet?  Well, it's glorious.  And peaceful.  And hard.

Just like every other stage of the game.

This week, just as we turned over a new page in the calendar, the weather changed.  The air, while still beautifully warm during the daytimes, has this incredible little chill in the mornings and evenings.  

SoCal might not have real seasons but at the same time we do and I love the subtleness of them.  I threw on a sweater the other evening in the garden and the next day dug out the yummy smelling pumpkin candle.

Joy.  Pure, pure joy.

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The garden is still incredibly beautiful and as I write this, we are awaiting friends to arrive.  We're serving a BIG platter of grilled tri-tip and chicken, both served on a bed of arugula.  There's also a beautiful platter of grilled veggies and some roasted potatoes, aperol spritzes for a cocktail and a lemon tart for dessert.

Because it's the weekend.  

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I think the greatest gift to myself is getting everything prepared before the party even starts so that I can be a guest at my own parties.  I think everyone has a better time... I know I do.   I just like to be present and not running around like a crazy person.

Does it always work like that?

Nope...but I do get an 'A' for effort.

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Now back to day 2 of this lovely 3 day weekend.  No plans for tomorrow...not that I can remember anyway, and that's perfectly ok.  I'm feeling rested and ready to jump into the next week...almost.  After tomorrow, that is.  Tomorrow you'll find me in my pj's all day long...or as long as I can get away with it.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The New Normal


Tonight we went for  a very last minute date night to Houston's...I had been craving their cheeseburger and so, well...we went for the cheeseburger.

I have no clue why it's sooooo good but it just is.  And the fries with the spicy aioli are the absolute bomb.

But...that late night dinner now has me blogging at 2:45am because I am so full I can't sleep.  

Oh well.

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Buddy the Dog is so happy that he has me home all to himself during the day.  I thought he might be lonely but he follows me from room to room and puts his sweet little head on my lap while I'm working and don't tell Daddy this, but he curls up next to me on the couch too.

He's smart though and jumps down when he hears his car.

I won't tell if you won't tell.

Two big events happened yesterday.  I did 5 long, hot, painful, whiney miles on my favorite trail AND my work car hit 33,333 miles.  

The driving part was MUCH easier.  And less sweaty.

Our lime tree is literally losing branches from all the lines that are growing.  I made key lime pie  (two actually) and have been loving my bubbly water with fresh limes in it.

The lemon tree isn't as happy this year and the fig tree produced 5 whole figs, 3 of which the birds ate.  The grapes were prolific and the olives are ready to be picked...I'm going to press them into oil this time around and will probably get a 1/2 cup if I'm lucky.

Gardening isn't for the faint of heart.

I was given a box of HelloFresh meals and they were actually pretty fun to cook and everyone liked them.  This one was the favorite...pork chops in a shallot pan sauce over couscous with an arugula and peach salad.  

I'd definitely do them again during a busy season when we have lots going on...and don't have boys popping in and out for food.   

Speaking of the boys...Brian and his roommates have come home a few times and it's so fun to hear their stories.  He TOTALLY lucked out in the roomie department and I am so happy for him...they are all having a fun time.

I just love boys.  

I also love that my job is still secure because the 'hey mom!' calls keep coming.  The latest is that his phone is broken and he can only facetime us and not make regular calls.  Guess we've gotta get that taken care of at some point but it's fun to see his sweet face when he calls us.

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We went to Disneyland last week for an afternoon but don't let this picture fool you.  I was totally stressed about my job and kept breaking out in tears.  That guy that I like so much was hunting Pokemon and I was annoyed and ugh...we were both just totally grumpy and even the happiest place on earth didn't help.

But then we sat in Carthay Circle for an hour or so and slowly we relaxed.  And by the time we got home I had a fever, which explains a lot.


New shirts for my Colorado football loving boys.  I couldn't resist.

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Friday night we had a garden party and it was so nice to make a big pot of pasta and just sit in the garden and just 'be'.  The weather, even though hot during the day, has changed and I can feel Fall coming.

I'm ready for all of it.  Meals cooked in the oven.  Sweaters.  Pumpkin candles.

Above: before bed.

Below: the morning.

The clean up fairy lost our address and forgot to come while I was sleeping.

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So, my work life has been a challenge lately and I'm just so bummed.  But for now, I think it's all settled and relatively quiet...I'm back to doing what I do and trying to make thigs ok for my team.  I'll be honest, I cry a lot in the shower and my worry level is at an all time high but I know...I KNOW that this is all part of the plan.  That God has his hand in all this and I'm just trusting that it will all work out.  But for reals, it's been really rough.

And so I'm cooking.  And eating.  

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And that's that.  It's all good.  The quiet house isn't hard to adjust to...but the strange lack of sporting events is.  For the first time since 1995, there isn't a single Busch boy playing a sport (or an instrument) without a Busch parent in the stands.

Kinda weird.  But kinda not.

It's hard to explain.  

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Happy To Be Home

This has been the summer of being on the go...we travelled to Hawaii,  road tripped to NorCal, that guy that I like so much was off on a retreat, and then I spent nearly two weeks on a work trip to Florida.  

I'm ready for the suitcases to be put away.  Far away.

Before my long trek to the other side of the country...which conveniently happened right as that guy that I like so much went back to work, I cooked and cooked and cooked so that they wouldn't have to worry about meals.

I'm not a big 'make ahead' cook and I've got a family of fresh food eaters but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  

I boarded the plane with a pit in my stomach.  Not for fear of flying...I actually like to fly, but because there is this shift in my work life that has me sad and more than a bit worried.  There is a new management and a new way of things being run and while some things have been helpful, there is a whole new feeling of change.  And not for the better.  

I'm worried because it's not good and I have a boy who just started college and the whole thing is just not pretty.  In fact, it's gosh darn ugly.  But just like getting on that airplane, it's not in my hands and I just have to trust.

But it's hard.

I had breakfast at the Waffle House four times while I was travelling, each time with a different set of police officers but every time I ate the the same thing because those pecan waffles are so. gosh. darn. good.  They're malty and crispy and soft and I want one right now.  Please.  

Yum.

The working conditions were lovely.

Not.

Over the weekend I drove up to visit with my cousin who recently moved to Florida and we went to a nearby state park.  I love where she lives...it's so green and lush and beautiful.  Plus,  I got to see an alligator...thankfully from the safety of a glass bottom boat.

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Three people and three hundred selfies. 

What a bunch of goof balls.

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I was able to sneak in a very stormy, very rainy day at the Magic Kingdom and I can now say that yeah, the west coast park is best.  It's more compact but so much more character filled.

Sorry Disneyworld.

I flew through Denver and could've shopped for days and now I'm so bummed that I didn't buy this shirt.  Maybe on my next trip.

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And then I came home.  

Home.

I don't know what it is about this little house on this little street.  It's not fancy and it's not big and it's not the cleanest and it's just four walls like everybody else's....but it's just got this feel to it.  I can't explain it but it's like God's face just shines down on this little space and it almost feels sacred.

It's truly a special place.

Baby Brian...who is no longer a baby but it's really hard to not think of him as the baby, has moved into his dorm room and is ready to begin college.  What?  Really?  He's in college???

But, I already got an SOS call that he needed a Target run for random things we forgot and so I picked him up, did some shopping and then spoiled him for lunch at the Hatch.  

I really miss him.

And then today I realized that the boy who moved out took a whole bunch of random things with him and now I need to shop...things like my laundry basket and the trash can from the bathroom.

And I'm fighting the 'sads'...the end of era life changes that are happening.  We popped open a bottle of rose and grilled up some steaks and toasted life.  

Thirty years.  

Three boys.  

One really great God.

So here's to stage three.

Stage one - marriage.
Stage two - raising boys.
Stage three - party time.

Or something like that.  

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