Monday, September 1, 2014

Pickles and Pickles and Pickles


I had a HUGE bag of baby cucumbers to use up and so, in an effort to bring joy to all who live in my little house on my little street, I made pickles.

Problem is...I am the only one who eats them.

Is that really a problem?

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This is the easiest recipe in the world, which was written on an a little piece of paper from that guy that I like so much's grandmother.

Trust me because seriously, recipes written on little slips of paper are often the best because you can just picture two women having afternoon coffee, snacking on pickles and having one of the women say 'seriously.  you gotta give me this recipe.' and the other woman saying 'sure thing.  here ya go.'

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Refrigerator Pickles

Fill quart size canning jars with cucumbers that have been cut up however you like.  Peel them if you'd like, but I never do.  You can also add a few cloves garlic, carrots, green beans, etc.  Be brave!  (but I never am...I just use cukes, unpeeled.)

Mix together:
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp salt
4 T sugar

Pour over cucumbers.  Fill jar to the top with water.  Put the lid on, shake a few times and stick in the fridge.  They'll be ready the next day and will last quite a while (if you have self control, which I don't) in the fridge.

Happy snacking!

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Monday, August 25, 2014

A Lovely Weekend At Home


I flew into town on Friday afternoon and following my flight and drive from the big airport in the big city, I was able to make it to Brian's football game.  I'm going to be honest with you...this football thing?  Foreign to me.  

But I love my baby and I swear, if anyone out there hurts him I am going to charge on the field and take whomever out.  Just sayin'.

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Matteo packed himself all up and moved.  Not just moved, but moved to a different state.  Not a 'I'm going away to college and I'll be home soon' move but a 'I'm an adult and I'm moving away from home to start my new life' kind of move.

I'm excited for him but I'll admit, a little sad for me.  But happy beats out the sad part and I am so very, very thankful for technology because he's just a simple text message away.

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Friday night after the game, that guy that I like so much and I went out for a late night supper and once home, it hit me.  Exhaustion.  The whole next day I felt horrible...really, really horrible.  

Sleep helped.  So did advil and a few hallmark channel movies.

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Our pooch has been so happy...and extremely naughty.  He won't chew a bone but will chew pens and pencils if he finds them.  But seriously...look at this face.  I can't even remember life before him...pretty sure he is the most loved dog on the planet.  

Just hide your writing utensils.

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We were all nominated by different people for the ALS ice bucket challenge.  One of us did it in his underwear and we couldn't stop laughing....doused ourselves with ice water only to find out that the video didn't work and then we all got into a fight and everyone was grumpy and ugh.  Wasn't our best family moment.


What can I say?  We're human.

Sigh.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Homeward Bound

Florida has some really great things going for it...one would be a rather incredible mexican restaurant that has a cuban spin to it.  Most nights that I was here I was too tired to go out to eat so I'd have some pretzels and call it a day...which is absolutely pathetic.

On my last day I did run into Rocco's for my very favorite quesadilla with steak, black beans and plantains in it.  It is probably one of my very favorite things I have ever eaten.  For reals.

And then Florida has some not so good things going for it...like the fact that my family is so very, very far away.  I miss them and am ready to go home...but fear not, I am sitting at the airport right now waiting to board my flight.

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Airports, by the way, are some of the best places to people watch.  Where are they going?  Who are they going to see?  Business or pleasure?  


This morning I was packed up and out of my hotel super early.  This state has the most incredible sunrises and I couldn't go home without experiencing one.  Being away, separated from those that I love and from the things that make me comfortable really help to put things into perspective.   My little world is rather little back home and to get to know people who haven't had the easiest of lives...to give them a job and a sense of purpose and a chance to get back on their feet, well...it's a good feeling.

And then sometimes it comes back to bite you when they don't show up or don't give a hoot and then it becomes even clearer to me.  It's not about me giving them a chance, which my big head sometimes thinks.  It's about them wanting it...wanting to give a better life a go.  It's not something that I, or anyone else, can do for them.  My work involves many who just don't have it easy...and it's hard.

But me?  I can pray.  Seems small but it's not.  It's about all of this being bigger than me.  The plans are written in stone for all these people, as are mine.  But I do pray to be used, to help.  Please.

Well, my flight for home is boarding soon.  I'm going to grab one last cubano sandwich to go since I'll be stuck in seat 3F for the next 6 hours.  Fun times.  But on the other side of that?  My houseful of boys.

Fly fast, plane.  Fly fast.

=0)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Away from Home


I received a last minute call from my boss asking me to travel to south Florida one more time for the beginning of the school year, so I threw some things in a suitcase and hopped a rather long flight across the US of A.

It's a fun job that I have, though once I arrived everything sort of fell apart here and I've been working like a mad woman to put it all back together. 

Tsk. Tsk.

My body clock is completely off.  I'm up and out by 5:30am and by 5:00pm...well, this is my world.  A rather huge hotel room (a suite, actually) and me in my pj's.  Supper the other night?  Popcorn, m&m's, a glass of wine and a good movie.

Exciting stuff, eh?

I finally caved and went into a dunkin donuts.  It was...ok.

The sunrise though?  Perfect.  

And then there's the weather here.  108 with 81% humidity.

My work?

Outside, in the heat of the day.

My cell actually shut off due to overheating...I've never had that happen before.

=/

Tomorrow is my final day here...my final push to get things up and running.  I've trained the people who will be running the program and I'm pretty confident that they will do a great job.  I miss my family LOTS, even though this was the perfect week for me to be gone since everyone is super busy.  Matteo has been home this week and he's been running the show...that one is a catch, ladies.  Except he's already been caught, so never mind.

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And then there's my guy in the middle who posts pictures of himself doing this: 

Thanks, honey.  Looks...safe.

Makes the tuba in my kitchen seem like not such a big deal.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

He Said, She Said


That guy that I like so much was out of town for a few days and he texted this picture to me and said:

I wish you were here.

I received it and immediately replied:

I wish I was, too.

His view definitely trumped mine.

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Too crazy of a day getting lots of things done, so take out for dinner.  While I am loving the banter that happens when all my boys are home together,  I am currently staring at tons of football gear and a tuba that is in the corner of my kitchen.

Football I get, but pretty sure no one in my family plays the tuba??

I don't have the heart to ask right now, so I'm not.  

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

And Just Like That...


...summer has come to an end.

Really?

Really.

I do have to say, this one has been a good one.

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 The last week was lived to the fullest which is actually the way the end of summer should be.

That being said, we're all squeezing in a bit of afternoon snooze time because re-entry is quite tiring.  


My cousin Tim came to town and hung with us for the weekend.  He's a foodie kinda guy, so we ate (a lot) and had a few cocktails and just basically hung out...but he did get to experience a little garden party.

We might have scarred him.  Or scared him.  Or both.

Our crew around these parts?  A bit...ummmm, crazy.  And loud.  

My peeps do make life rather memorable.

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With that guy that I like so much back at work, our grilling days are coming to an end...and it's a major bummer because he has seriously perfected tuscan style chickens.  

Not ready to say goodbye to this meal yet.

There's been a chill in the air the last few nights and we've even flipped on the heaters in the garden once the sun goes down.  I'm ready for a lot of things that Fall brings...suppers cooked in the oven, my favorite long sweater,  the routine that comes with the sun setting earlier, hot tea and hot baths.

But I am going to miss long nights spent in the garden...long nights that turned into long mornings because we are kinda sorta bums during the summer months.

I love being a bum.

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I, like many many others, have been so saddened by the death of Robin Williams.  It's so easy to think that money makes things easier, that fame and it's perks make things better...but real life problems happen to real life people no matter what your world looks like.

And it's absolutely heartbreaking.

 And so today I am holding my loves a little closer and hugging them a little tighter.  I'm trying to be thankful for today and trying hard to not worry about what tomorrow might bring.

And today?  I'm thankful for much.

Three boys who are all home for the next week or so.
A late night movie with them last night.
Leftover pot roast.
A cousin who flew half way across the country for a visit.
Fun music.
A sweet pup (who got into the trash last night).
Candles.  Lots and lots of candles.


That guy that I like so much was away last night on retreat but is back home tonight.  Matthew is home from his summer excursion and is gearing up for a move out of state in a few weeks.  Alex is home from a long weekend away with friends and is sleeping...a lot.  I'm working a little bit this week, mainly from home, but am traveling out of state all next week.

Our little house is, quite honestly, a bit of a mess.  Two of my three are really, really, really good at spreading the wealth...meaning they leave lots of evidence in every room where they have been.  That works just fine in college life but tends to drive the mama at home a bit crazy...but then I take myself back to my thankful list.

I'm happy they are all home.  Really, really happy.

=0)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ants In My Pants


The very last full weekend of summer vacation has come and gone.  I'm almost in shock that summer went so quickly this year but come tomorrow, I'll be helping to motivate my team to get ready for the coming school year.

But first there will be coffee.  Sadly...we're out, which means I have to go buy some in the morning.

Oh well.

Truth is...I'm antsy.  I'm not quite sure why but I am.  I think maybe it's the lack of any type of schedule that's caught up to me.  Or maybe I'm just tired.  Or maybe it's because I'm in that in between place...the place where I know summer is ending and the school year is beginning.  I'm feeling like there are lots of things that should be done but haven't been and my motivation seems to be on the back burner.

Tell me I'm not alone?

Summer means lots of comings and goings in our little house on our little street and maybe that's where my antsy-ness comes into play too.  Matthew has been traveling the country and each morning it's a guessing game as to which state he and his drum and bugle corps are in.  (New York, today.  Indiana tomorrow.) Alex is gone more than he's here...and at the age of almost 21, that's what he should be doing.  

And then there's Brian, who's social calendar puts ours to shame.  Bottom line...I'm a bit tired and scatter brained just trying to keep up.  

The thing is...I'm not complaining.  Long ago when my life was quiet, painfully quiet, I wished for this.  For a family life that was full and busy and noisy and messy.  I dreamed of this.

To me, this is complete.

That being said, complete brings with it a certain amount of exhaustion.  

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As we sat in church this morning I was looking around at all the other families.  It's so easy to compare ourselves to others:  does that Mom have it all together?  Her kids sure look well groomed.  Does that family juggle bills like we do?  Are there engine lights on in two of their cars, too?  That couple looks happy....I hope he treats her the way mine treats me.

My thoughts should have been on the cross.  On salvation.  On communion.  It took me a long time to get to that place in my mind this morning.  On the way home I was telling that guy that I like so much that I just couldn't focus; I couldn't seem to take the 'me me me' out of the equation.

I don't like that feeling.


So I came home and threw on my shoes and in the heat and humidity of the afternoon, I went for a hike.  Quiet time...no music, no friends, no phone.  Just me, with the intent of talking my thoughts out to God, of asking for forgiveness, of asking for a bit of redirection.

I did all that.  And I'm still waiting.  And that's ok.

We've started a new series, having caught up with House Of Cards,  called Sherlock.  Love, love, loving it...it's quirky and interesting and funny.  The lime tree is exploding with limes so our latest cocktail is one of my faves...caipirinha's.  The humidity here is rivaling Brazil, so it seems fitting of late.  

Suppers have been typical summer: lots and lots and lots of things on the grill.  The garden is so pretty right now...hoping to squeeze in a few more parties before we all start back to real life.

So here we are.  It's Monday morning.  Happy new week, everyone.

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