Monday, April 7, 2014

Getting Out

Okay the crazy weather has had us outside in the yard in shorts one day and eating snow cream the next. I am thoroughly confused, but the Bumper is enjoying herself tremendously. This past weekend we had such a spell of mild weather that it has finally begun to feel like Spring. The daffodils are out in profusion, as if they are making up for lost time, everyday this past week the Bumper has put a vase of them on the table. The trees are also starting to blossom, first the yellow forsythia, then the cherry blossoms, and the Bradford pears. They are a sight for bare branch weary eyes.
A robin

The blossoms are not what has me really excited, what has me really excited is that we spent Saturday and Sunday outside. That's right! The Bumper and I got to breathe the fresh air and soak up the warm spring sunshine. Saturday, I think, was the Bumper's favorite day. We went to a little festival and she got to play musical chairs for the first time, she won a little pony, and she got to play on the moon bounce. Trampolines and inflatables are the Bumper's favorite outside activity. She can play on them for hours and on Saturday she did just that. We we got home she spent time with Nana in the garden, and I got another vase full of flowers. On Sunday we spent the afternoon outside again, she fed the outside cats and spent sometime just happily digging in the dirt. Nana had a special surprise for her on Sunday afternoon. Nana had bought the Bumper a jump-rope and for the rest of the day I attempted to teach her how to jump rope. I am not sure who had more fun!


There she goes!

Alas all good things, as they say, must end and Monday morning we were greeted by rain, and brisk winds. I dutifully planned indoor activities for the Bumper - play-dough, coloring, and an indoor picnic lunch. The Bumper however, did not see why a perfectly good puddle jumping day should go to waste. I protested at first, and then realized I was fighting the wrong battle. Since my little one wanted to play outside why was I not encouraging her? So I let her splash in the puddles at the school yard to her heart's content. I wish I had had my camera with me. The Bumper came home thoroughly soaked and muddy, but very very happy. Tuesday is supposed to be sunny and mild and I hope to be outdoors once again.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Creative Outlets

Just in time for Spring
In this season of my life I am very busy. I am staying at home and taking care of the Bumper (which is definitely a full time job), I am writing a novel, I am making preparations to take the GRE-Graduate Record Exam- this fall, so I can go back to school for my PH.D with the goal of becoming a university professor, and I am still in the middle of settling the things from the Bumper's Dad's estate. (The painful, but necessary, tasks of cleaning the house, and sorting thorough his things.) It is very easy for me to get burned out and feel used up.
Sure I pray and exercise to keep myself spiritually and physically fit, a continual work in progress and ones I hope I never finish, but I also read, write, cook and crochet.
A ripple dishcloth
Writing is something I cannot hep but to do. I am a compulsive scribbler. I carry a notebook, the paper kind, in my purse to jot down ideas I may come up with when I am out and about. I am inspired by lots of things especially in nature and I never know when something might spark my imagination. Writing is however, more than a hobby for me. It is how I would like someday to make my living. I love writing fiction.  I finished a historical fiction novel and now I am writing a fantasy novel. I am having a lot of fun with this project, but while I am writing fantasy I do not read in the same genre, lest I unwittingly plagiarize. So what other things can I do to relax? Well there is cooking, especially baking and I love to bake, but well the the hazard to my waist line I think is obvious. (Insert  gratitude for having enough to eat so that cooking and eating are pleasures not just necessities) So that leaves sewing, crochet and knitting!
The first hat I ever made for the Bumper and the hat I made her for Christmas.

The Bumper's doll blanket is turning into a cozy throw
I have been on a crochet/knit/sew binge lately. I find working with my hands satisfying and the soothing rhythms fuel my creativity. It is kind of weird, but the more I crochet/knit/sew the more I write and the more I write the more I crochet/knit/sew. They feed off of each other. I am immensely tickled by this and so is the Bumper because she likes playing with my yarn and counting colors as I work. She is also fascinated by the sewing machine and has requested I begin making dresses for her dolls immediately. All in all this hobby is working out quite well and even though I am just a beginner I hope to create more and more things. I see colorful granny squares, wavy ripple blankets, hats, scarves, snowflakes, little animals, the aforementioned dolls dresses and other clothes for the Bumper, and all sorts of handmade things in my future and the future of my soon to be inundated friends and family. There is an ulterior motive in this: I hope to have enough fuel to finish my novel this year.
Spring is here - the Bumper picked these herself.
Ah, the sublime madness of creativity.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Winter's Last Rally (Maybe)

The night the storm began
It seems that Mother Nature missed the memo reminding her that this time of year is supposed to be spring in this hemisphere. Winter has lingered and lingered. I am more than ready for the warm up that is supposed to come next week. I want to see daffodils, and tree blossoms, I want to feel the warms sunshine on my face, I want to hear the birds chirping at an obnoxious hour of the morning, I want to post pictures of robins, and tulips, and blue skies.
The morning after

Poor little Daffodil
Mother Nature does not care about what I want. Instead she gifted my corner of the United States with a late snowstorm. I may be grumbling, but the Bumper is ecstatic. This was her "last" chance to play in the fluffy white stuff she has come to love. When she woke up the first thing she asked me was if we could go out and play. Her second request was for me to get clean snow and pour maple syrup on it. I admit I was rather reluctant, but I cast off my doubts and went outside. I am happy I did. It was so much fun watching her make snow angels, and tried to find the perfect snowball. The air was sharp and cold with just a hint of the warmth of days to come.

Bumper and Snow bear
We played until our faces and hands were red. When we finally went back indoors I had one last surprise for the Bumper- I had gotten up early in the morning, scooped up some fresh snow and poured the last of the maple syrup over it. The Bumper was delighted and her delight warmed my heart.

Backyard in March
Soon warm weather will be here and these chilly days will be just memories: ones I hope the Bumper will cherish because I know I will.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Belated Ramblings

Early February- a warm day for a walk in the park
Okay wow! I did not realize how much time had passed since my last post. So much has happened!
We have had some crazy weather: snow one day and warm sunshine the next or vice versa! Even as I write this we are preparing for a snowstorm after a mild weekend of being outside in the garden. We have had a series of colds that just kept going and going around the household. First I got sick, then the Bumper, then Nana and round again. the Bumper is finally on the mend and back to her rambunctious self. I may get annoyed at all the mischief she is capable of when she has been indoors too long, but I will take mischief of over sick lethargy any day. ( Although ask me again  in a week and I might change my mind!)
Hello second day of Spring!
The Bumper has loved it all minus the getting sick bits, although I suspect she liked. even that because she got plenty of lap time, story time and cuddles from me and Nana. She especially liked playing in the snow and building her first snowman. The Bumper was quite upset when he melted the next day. On the warm days she got to go for rides in the wheelbarrow while Nana and I cleared the winter debris from the front and backyards. She even got to climb on the  ladder and "help" her Nana clean the gutters. A task that will be much easier the next go around because we finally got rid of our very large pine trees.

As for me, well all those shut in days gave me time to indulge my creative side. I have now gotten a very firm start on my new novel, I finished the aprons for my self and the Bumper, I made a shift dress for the Bumper -- it has been lots of fun learning to sew, I crocheted a scarf for my sister, bought my first issues of Simply Crochet magazine, and some lovely new yarn, I officially have a yarn stash, and I have started teaching myself how to knit socks. I totally blame Lucy of Attic 24 ( for my renewed vigor with crochet and obsession with all things woolly. She makes it look so easy and she uses such wonderful colors! I am not near that level of proficiency, but my sister liked her scarf so much she requested another one, and Nana commission a hat and scarf set!
The perfect accessory

Mommy's little helper

Like always this kind of weather makes me feel like cooking. I have been experimenting with some yummy vegan recipes and trying to get more healthy options into our diets. The one bad thing about wintery weather is I tend to cook comfort food or bake, and while that is a delight to the senses, it is not so easy on the waist line. Fortunately for me Fridays in Lent give me the perfect excuse to spring vegetarian or vegan dishes on my family.  Spring is a time of new life as the earth wakens from its winter sleep, for me that means a chance re-energize my exercise routine, pick up my pen and various needles (sewing, crochet ant knitting) and because it is Lent; it is a time for me to do some spiritual house cleaning.
Double Yummy!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sorrow and Grattitude

Once again my world has been rocked by personal tragedy. A very dear friend of mine lost her eldest son. He was only 21. She is like an older sister to me, and I have known her son since he was six years old.  I am still in shock, all I can see is the little boy who solemnly told me the most important thing about going to school was remembering which bus to get on at the end of the day. Having recently lost my husband I know some of how she feels. I know the hurt and the grief all too well. I know about the questions that have no answers and guilt of overwhelming helplessness. My heart breaks for her and I say in all seriousness: I grieve with you.

Yet even still there are things I am grateful for.

1. Faith 
2. Because of what I have gone through I can reach out to others.
3. Sobriety - five years and counting, As much as I may want to dive into a bottle I know that will not solve anything. As tough as it is, as painful as mourning is; it is part of life.
4. Being able to feel. As much as I am hurting, because of the hurt, I know I am still living.
5. The support of family and friends during the past four months, which I hope I can now begin to return.
I will be back to more regular posting soon.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Post Valentines Day Reflection

For two years in a row I have posted rather dismal posts for Valentines Day. This year is a little different because something amazing happened. No I did not meet someone, and I am definitely not in a chocolate, champagne and roses mood. Instead I received my first Valentines Day card from the Bumper, and this mother's heavy heart became a little lighter.

As adults we tend to make a big deal about whether or not we are with that special someone on Valentines Day. The Bumper reminded me that loves is not just romantic, it is also for friends and family. I am glad for the reminder.

I am truly happy for all of my friends who are in happy, loving, and committed relationships. I will admit, however that was very difficult this year for me to share in the happiness, and lovey dovey-ness . The popular images of the day includes, candlelit dinners, hearts and couples staring adoringly into each others eyes. For someone who was in the middle of a separation and who is now in mourning, these images can be hard to bear.  Those images were particularly heart wrenching when I thought about what  I wanted for my marriage and want I actually had. The posts of the last two years reflected that.

This year I did not think of what might have been, instead  I allowed myself to be sad. I listened to some of our favorite love songs. I wept, then I smiled knowing the Bumper's dad is in no more pain.
When I went to pick up the Bumper from school my maudlin thoughts were dispelled by the sight of paper cut out hearts filled not with romantic sentiments, but childish innocence. The children's love was not limited but encompassed everything from Mommies and Daddies, pets, little brothers and sisters to grilled cheese sandwiches. I couldn't help grin. The Bumper's card for me hung underneath her name. On the outside it was covered in a mishmash of hearts on the inside in her teacher's handwriting it read: I love my mommy because she makes me hot dogs! I laughed right out loud. Such simplicity and generosity of spirit.

Later on the Bumper and I made a construction paper card for Nana. The Bumper's enthusiastic "Happy Valentines Day Nana!" could not have been more warmly received. I was reminded that love comes in many forms and is not limited to one day a year. Each and every day I get to spend with my family and friends IS Valentine's and and reason enough to celebrate no matter the date on the calender. It is time I remembered that God loves me and so does the Bumper.



For all of you who have someone to love:

Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Son , Daughter, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends Sweethearts, Husbands, and Wives. Cherish them each and every day. God Loves You.

For all of you who think you are alone: God Loves You Too.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Smoothie Magic

I was feeling sickly yesterday. My nose was so stuffed up I couldn't smell or taste much of anything.
I knew I needed to eat, but cooking was not appealing. So I decided to make a smoothie, the Bumper had already had one for her lunch, and I figured it would be something I couldn't mess up.
I was right. The Blueberry-I-can't-be-sick- because-I-have -a toddler-smoothie was born. I took some blue-berries, frozen mango chunks, banana, and almond butter into the blender and whirred away. After the mixture looked to be of suitable thickness, I gave it a taste. "Pretty, good" I thought, but somehow it needed more; and that is when I got a little crazy with it. I added ground flax-seed for some Omega - 3's, and mandarin orange for vitamin. I blended again and tasted.
 "More," I thought, "but what?" I danced around my kitchen and found some green tea snipped open the tea bag and poured it in, blended and tasted. The mixture still tasted like it was missing something. Then it came to me: ginger! Of course, like chicken soup, ginger is good for whatever ails you, so in went a dollop of ginger powder (if I had had fresh I would have used that, but I had to make do). I blended and tasted- ahh! Now I had it right: Soothing, with a bit of zing and spice. I whirred again to smooth out any leftover orange pith and that is when my poor little blender decided it had had enough. The exhausted thing gave up on me and refused to blend for a second longer; so the result contained more pulp than I like, but it did the trick. The smoothie perked me and drained my sinuses more effectively than the cold medicine I had been taking.

It looks like a glass of sunshine!
This morning even though I felt considerably better, I didn't feel as well as I wanted so I made another smoothie. I had to use the big blender because I well and truly broke the small one. This time it was the Golden Wellness Smoothie from Happy Healthy Life ( ). I added some fresh ginger for some heat and split it with Marie.
While I don't feel 100% back to normal I do feel much more spry and healthy than I did this morning. Smoothie's can't cure everything, but for me they went a long way towards putting me on the road to recovery.