Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Am...Enough

Took a big step today.

I am hoping that this will be as liberating and good for me as getting my divorce almost six years ago was.  I remember I felt better than I had in years in only two weeks.  Hopefully, that will happen again this time.

I loved him with all I had.  And was willing to love with all I had for the rest of forever. But he didn't want me, want that.  What the hell are you supposed to do about that?

I know that I was more than enough for him.  I know I was the right one.  But he chose otherwise and I will go on.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Who Plants a Seed...

"Who plants a seed beneath the sod
And waits to see, believes in God." --anonymous

I cross stitched this saying once.  Darned if I can find the finished piece now, but that's another story.

I got the 2012 garden plot planted a couple of weeks ago, and every evening when I get home from work, I make the trip out to the backyard to check for progress.  I was rewarded a couple of nights ago when I discovered sunflower, cardinal climber and green beans sticking their tiny heads up above the soil.  Only the nasturtiums need to make their presence known, and everything I planted will be accounted for.

I can't even begin to describe the joy and excitement and accomplishment I feel when I see a seed just starting to live its life as a plant.  Obviously, I did something right, and now I am responsible for helping that seed reach its fullest potential.  Quite like being a parent of a child.  I will be watering and weeding and hoeing and hopefully harvesting the fruits of my labor, all courtesy of the energy and determination of those little seeds planted beneath the sod.

It is so hot right now in Indiana (weekend forecast is for 95 degrees both days) that I will be watering about every other day until some rain decides to fall.  But I don't mind because I know what the payoff will be.  Around August, when I am eating a freshly-picked tomato from the garden and the juice is dribbling off my chin--well, my early-season efforts will have been worth it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Different Kind of Mother's Day Tribute

Those of you who know me know that the biggest tragedy in my life is the fact that I was never able to carry a pregnancy to term.  No problems getting pregnant; it was just carrying them past the first trimester that was the problem.  At that time, there were no surgical or in vitro options that would have helped me achieve my dream to be a mother.  I was stuck without options and with a husband (now ex) that didn't want to create a family with me via adoption.

This "guest blogger" column by the late Erma Bombeck, the wonderful columnist, has always been one that I have held dear and close to my heart.  I am posting it with no intentions of it being an "oh woe is me" post; it is just a tribute to those of us that lost our dream through no fault of our own.  Please enjoy it and enjoy your Mother's Day this coming Sunday, May 13, 2012.

Mothers who have lost a child - Erma Bombeck, May 14, 1995
If you're looking for an answer this Mother's Day on why God reclaimed your child, I don't know. I only know that thousands of mothers out there today desperately need an answer as to why they were permitted to go through the elation of carrying a child and then lose it to miscarriage, accident , violence, disease or drugs.

Motherhood isn't just a series of contractions. It's a state of mind. From the moment we know life is inside us, we feel a responsibility to protect and defend that human being. It's a promise we can't keep. We beat ourselves to death over that pledge. "If I hadn't worked through the eighth month." "If I had taken him to the doctor when he had a fever." "If I hadn't let him use the car that night." "If I hadn't been so naive, I'd have noticed he was on drugs."

The longer I live, the more convinced I become that surviving changes us. After the bitterness, the anger, the guilt, and the despair are tempered by time, we look at life differently.

While I was writing my book, "I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to Go to Boise", I talked with mothers who had lost a child to cancer. Every single one said death gave their lives new meaning and purpose. And who do you think prepared them for the rough, lonely road they had to travel? Their dying child. They pointed their mothers toward the future and told them to keep going. The children had already accepted what their mothers were fighting to reject.

The children in the bombed-out nursery in Oklahoma City have touched more lives than they will ever know. Workers who had probably given their kids a mechanical pat on the head without thinking that morning are making phone calls home during the day to their children to say "I love you."

This may seem like a strange Mother's Day column on a day when joy and life abound for the millions of mothers throughout the country. But it's also a day of appreciation and respect. I can think of no mothers who deserve it more than those who had to give a child back.

In the face of adversity, we are not permitted to ask, "Why me?" You can ask, but you won't get an answer. Maybe you are the instrument who is left behind to perpetuate the life that was lost and appreciate the time you had with it.

The late Gilda Radner summed it up well: "I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned the hard way that some poems don't rhyme and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what is going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.".

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Love and the Chambray Shirt

When I was a seventh grader at Tecumseh Jr. High in Lafayette, Indiana wayyyy back in the mid-1970's, I was at best a nerd.  Nowhere NEAR popular; I was bookish.  Ooooh, and I had glasses, too.  How gauche!  Oh, how I wanted to fit in with the "in" girls!  I adored them, especially their clothes.  They were stylish and beautiful and I just knew they had gotten them at Paul Harris at the Tippecanoe Mall.  Now, I had nice clothes and plenty of them, but nothing near this special (so I thought at the time).

That year, one of the big fashion trends was chambray button-up-the-front shirts with embroidered embellishments all over the place--the button placket, the yoke, the corner of a pocket, the points of the collars.  I admired them in the stores, but the prices were just simply out of my family's league, especially with three girls who all wanted them.

My very clever, resourceful mother was able to scare up, in her limited price range, three plain chambray shirts at Block's Department Store at the Mall.  Knowing that my Grandma (her mother) was an expert embroiderer, she showed the shirts to her and explained what she was looking for her to do.

In no time flat, Grandma had whipped up three amazingly beautiful embroidered shirts, one for each of us.  Mine, I remember, was a snowflake design that Grandma had stitched up.  All sizes and types of snowflakes danced upon my shirt in various places.  On all three shirts, she had stitched a longstitch-dot pattern in contrasting colors over ALL of the topstitching.  I remember mine was red with white.

I was so ungrateful back then; I remember not being happy with mine because it didn't have a floral motif.  But I wore it to school anyway, thinking all the time that I was still going to be disappointed and I was not going to fit in with the crowd because I didn't have a FLORAL embroidered shirt.

That all changed during one class period passing change in the hallway, when arguably the wealthiest girl in school (her father was Ryan White's first lawyer in his fight against the Western School Corporation to attend school even though he had AIDS) came up to me out of the blue and said, "Laurie, I absolutely love your shirt.  Where did you get it?"

Amazing how so few words can change your outlook on something!  After that, I was proud as a peacock to wear my shirt that my Grandma had made for me and my mother had thought to create.

The sad part of the story--I'm sure that shirt is long gone.  Mom is good at getting rid of stuff, so I'm sure it found its way to Goodwill after I had outgrown it.  What I wouldn't give to have that shirt back--the memories and the love that were sewn into it, with two pairs of amazing hands, are two of my proudest possessions.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Must Have Flowers

"Must Have Flowers" print by Kathy Davis

A lovely print for sale at Kathy Davis Studios.  It captures the very essence of what is so lovely about spring and summer for me.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Thrill of the Hunt

What is it about me and those darned dollar bins at retail stores?

Is it the love of a bargain, the thrill of the hunt?  Dollar bins to me are like riding your bike to the drug store in the summertime and buying all of those different flavors of Bubs Daddy bubble gum for 5 cents apiece (I am relatively certain we will never see prices like that again in our lifetimes).

I went to the drug store the other day to buy my mom a Mother's Day card.  That was it; Mother's Day card.  I needed absolutely NOTHING else at that particular moment.  But somehow two $1 microfiber cleaning cloths found their way into my shopping bag at the checkout counter.

Don't get me started on the cool stuff bins at the Michaels arts and crafts supply store in my town.  Pencils, notepads, recipe cards, nail files--OMG.  I cleaned up there on my Christmas stocking shopping for the ladies on my list last holiday season.  My coworkers can always tell when I've been at Michaels during my lunch hour because I come back bearing gifts of pencils.

And the trial size bins--good grief, there's trouble with a capital "T".  Not only can you try out new stuff, but buy just the perfect size of shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, whatever for a trip at a really cheap price.  Great gifts for dirty bingo and the like can be found in the trial size section--last Christmas, one of my 20-something nephews got a trial-size box of Hello Kitty Bandaids for a prize that I found in the trial size bins at Walgreens.

It probably is not even close to economical to buy products from the trial-size bin, and most of the dollar bin items, especially the plastic ones, tend to break or become nonfunctional in a very short period of time.  But I think it's the thrill--the thrill of spending very little money to get something you "need", the thrill one gets from finding something really cool and really inexpensive.  Long live the dollar bins!

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Greatest Athlete That Ever Lived

Secretariat winning the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown, 1973

Love you and miss you, Big Red.  You were the best.  The horse with the heart bigger than it should have been.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Discuss Amongst Yourselves...

Is it possible to love someone too much?

This has been an off/on, but very passionate, discussion among my friends and acquaintances on Facebook.  It brings up some very personal and very probative issues.

What do you think?  I'd love to know and read your responses.  Feel free to drop me a line and tell me your feelings.

Recipe: Easy Chicken Enchilada Crescent Bake


Easy Chicken Enchilada Crescent Bake

Has anyone noticed the recipe kick I seem to be on lately? :-)

Anyhoo, I was looking for enchilada recipes the other day on one of my very favorite food websites--www.tasteofhome.com--and found a recipe for Easy Chicken Enchilada Crescent Bake that I thought sounded 1) really yummy and 2) inexpensive on the wallet in the grocery store, so I pinned it to my Pinterest board titled "Food, Glorious Food".

Much to my complete surprise, it was repinned 24 times in less than an hour after I had pinned it.  So there must be lots of folks out there looking for good, healthy, inexpensive meal-at-home options.  Even though I haven't made it yet, I am going to soon.

Here is the recipe.  Try it out and let me know how it turns out for you:

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 C shredded cooked chicken
  • 1-10 oz can red enchilada sauce
  • 2-8 oz cans (each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls (Pillsbury also makes a refrigerated "Crescent Recipe Creations" seamless dough sheet that might be worth a try)
  • 1 1/4 C (5 oz) shredded Mexican cheese blend 
DIRECTIONS:
  • In 2 qt saucepan, mix chicken and 1/2 C enchilada sauce.  Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Separate or cut dough into 8 long rectangles (if using crescent rolls, press perforations to seal).  Spoon chicken mixture and 1 T cheese onto one long side of each rectangle.  Roll up; pinch edges to seal.  Place seam side down in 13" x 9" (3 qt) glass baking dish.  Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Bake at 375 degrees 15-20 minutes.
YIELD: 8 servings.