About Me

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I am a multifaceted woman, living with intention and passion. I always see the glass as half full (ok, almost always). Currently into: jewelry design, glass beadmaking (aka lampworking), visual journaling, cooking and web design everything. Things that bring me great joy: my family, friends, Scrabble, British period pieces, Shabby Chic, Austin, TX, mini art tiles, autographed cookbooks, chocolate, Chianti, pedicures and beach glass. I don't "do" and/or dig: dishonesty, guilt, intolerance, unkindness, drama and goat cheese (it's a long story, but I love all the other cheeses!) So you now have a teeny tiny little picture of me, with a few warts thrown in. Welcome to my world!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Impending Grandparenthood

Vintage Baby Shower Invite
   You might need a cup of tea or coffee for this one, and a biscuit or two...

     When my son and daughter-in-law called us back in late November on Skype, and wanted to speak to both my husband and I together, I was pretty sure of the reason why, baby on the way, and of course, my new found grandmotherly intuition was right on the money!  With a due date of August 8, I thought I had more time to get my thoughts together about my impending grandparenthood, but alas, there is a good chance I will join the ranks of grandmothers all over the world sooner than later. My daughter-in-law is in the hospital with contractions today! Although she is still 6 weeks from the due date, there is a good chance she will have the baby early. She and my son were here a couple weeks ago for a visit and baby showers, and she did look like she was ready to go, so maybe the due date was off by a few weeks? Regardless, it is time to think about this new role of Abuelita, which is the Spanish term of endearment for grandmother, and what I hope all my grandchildren will call me.
Me with one of my Abuelitas
     I had the chance to think about grandparents when my first son was born, making my parents grandparents for the first time. I watched my parents fall in love with him before he was even born and then fall madly in love with him once he arrived. It often brought tears to my eyes to watch them with him, as well as with each of the other three that came along. We, the parents, were also in love with him, delighted beyond reason, he was so beautiful and perfect. But as parents, we were also responsible for raising him to be a "good" person, based on what we believed qualified as "good." Good manners, morals, ethics, hygiene...all that stuff. Lots of love, affection and support along with solid boundaries, discipline and consistency. As I watched my parents with my newborn son, I knew that I wanted it to be that way always. I did not want them to have to be disciplinarians, I just wanted them to enjoy him and I wanted him to enjoy his time with them as well. So I made a point of not asking my parents to be long term caregivers of my son. They would babysit and help us out occasionally with childcare, but not on any kind of regular basis. And even when my mom retired early and I could have asked her to watch my kids a couple days a week, I refused to even think about it. I also believed that my parents had done their stint as parents already. They deserved to enjoy their retirement and their grandchildren, not sign up for the parenting thing all over again.

     And I can now say that my kids have a wonderful relationship with their grandparents. They will spend a week with them, one at a time, or my parents will come up and watch them all for a few days while my husband and I have a little getaway. But it is fun, they are not raising them, just enjoying them. They aren't perfect kids, but they do mind and they are not afraid of my parents in any way. Now how do I plan to be a perfect Abuelita? I believe in living with intention, so I know I must think about this, envision the type of relationship I want to have with my grandchildren and plan accordingly. I have a couple difficulties to tackle though. And if anyone has ANY suggestions on how to think about this, please leave me a comment!
     Because I have an 11 year old (as well as a 17 and 19) at home, it will be hard to "spoil" a grandchild here. When my son was born, my brothers and I were all in our twenties. My brothers were on the spoiling bandwagon too, and never felt any competition with their nephew and then other nieces and nephews that came along. But an 11 year old is different. When my youngest brother had his first over five years ago, my then 6 year old was very jealous of all the attention the "new" grandchild was getting. She had been the youngest grandchild and now was no longer in the main spotlight. How will she feel when she sees me all gooey over my first grandchild, while she looks on? Knowing her the way I do,
it will be very difficult for her. She is a very empathetic and compassionate girl. But she is still very young. All kids need a lot of attention, but during those tweenage years, they have so many self doubts and seem to need extra attention. It is also an awkward time of life, your body making all this hormonal commotion that you have no control over. I can see everyone with their backs to her as they ooh and aah over the baby. And I will be torn. I want to be the grandmother my mom was and is, but I am still in the middle of mothering a young one myself. How will I strike a balance here? I know how to love and have plenty to go around, that is not the issue at all. But my first born son will be expecting me to be completely enthralled and mesmerized by my new grandchild (which I will be, believe me), while my 11 year old will be watching to see if I happen to love that new grandchild more than her. I'm chuckling now, but I know this will really be something I will have to deal with shortly.
     So I am very excited, wondering if I will be a grandmother within the next few hours or days, and also wondering how to make the parent/grandparent juxtaposition work in the most loving way possible. Wish me luck or leave me some advice, it is all appreciated!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Prairie Home Companion

Prairie Home Companion on Kresge stage in Interlochen, MI
   It has been a dream of mine to attend a live taping of Prairie Home Companion (PHC), actually on my bucket list. I was so thrilled that a friend of mine was able to get us tickets, really "good" tickets for the show this last weekend at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan. We were only a few seats from the front and have a great view of the whole show! My husband and kids and I have been listening to PHC for at least 18 years, possibly longer. We all love the show and try to catch it on our local public radio station each weekend.
Sue Scott, Tim Russell, Fred Newman and Garrison Keillor

     Way back when I read Garrison Keillor's "Lake Woebegone Days," and laughed out loud more times than I can remember. This week's guests were outstanding, as usual. A couple of the Interlochen students in particular, including one who played the harp and another who played the violin. The harpist played "Clair de lune," one of my all time favorite classical pieces and then Dave Brubek's "Take Five" with the band, and it was wonderful.
     We also got to hear a twosome that we have not heard of before, Storyhill, and my husband especially liked them. Beautiful harmonizing and one of them had a
My son and the Guy's All Star Shoe Band in the background
voice very reminiscent of John Denver. It was a magical night and I still feel as if I dreamed it. We had heard that Garrison Keillor, who is the host of the PHC show, is retiring in two years, so we knew if we were ever going to see this show live, we had to splurge and do it while we could. How lucky for us that he had Interlochen on his schedule this year and that we have friends who were able to get us such great seats! I feel so very lucky, I'll be riding the high from this fabulous weekend for a long, long time! Hot air balloons and PHC, all is right with the world, at least for a little while...


Monday, June 20, 2011

Drive-by post

     A quickie post between kitchen innings! This is one of the chicken pot pies I made for dinner tonight in honor of my son's birthday. This is what he wanted, so this is what I made. For the filling, I used the recipe from Rebecca Rather's "The Pastry Queen," cookbook, which I own, autographed, of course! The crust is puff pastry from the grocery store, I didn't have enough time to make it all from scratch, maybe next time. There are extra dipping sticks for the sauce, a great idea my oldest daughter gave me as I regarded the leftover bits of puff pastry. The recipe itself is here, but the book is full of fabulous recipes for wonderful pastries too. I also have "The Pastry Queen Christmas," cookbook, I'm so lucky!
She also has a sweet bakery in Fredericksburg, TX, called charmingly enough, "Rebecca's Rather Sweet Bakery," which I've been fortunate enough to visit. If you do make anything from any of her cookbooks, please send me a photo, I love to see what other people are making.
     While I'm back on the topic of food, I have to mention a book I read yesterday, "The School of Essential Ingredients," by Erica Bauermeister. OMG, if you are a foodies of any sort, you will L-O-V-E this book! I couldn't put it down and have to say that it maybe why I am in this cooking state of mind. Amazing story and the food descriptions are drool worthy. Ok, enough for now, this is supposed to be a quick drive-by post...

Where do I start?

Balloons heading out, view from Wayne Hill
     What an amazing weekend!!! It was like riding one wave of joy after another. It started on Friday, with the first, and hopefully annual, Traverse City Balloon Classic. We headed downtown to the open space, taking a quick detour up Wayne Hill to see the balloons that had already set off. I was like a kid in a candy store, absolutely gleeful, I know my kids thought I was nuts, but ever since I saw a video of the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, I have been enamored of the whole hot air balloon thing, especially when they are part of a big gathering. A visit to the
Albuquerque event is on my bucket list, and this was a wonderful taste of what lies ahead, since I know I'll get there someday! There were so many people in town for this three day event, but everyone was in such a great mood, old and young alike. It was wonderful to see how many other people are delighted by this kind of magic. I took a lot of photographs, but am only posting my favorites. The colors and patterns were incredible eye candy. I will be working on some balloon journal pages this week and hopefully, will post some of those by next weekend. I truly hope this becomes an annual event and that maybe, just maybe, I will get into a balloon next year and go for a ride. I am afraid of heights, but I will have to conquer it because I really, really, REALLY want to do this someday.
Balloons being inflated for the evening "glow."
    If you ever get the chance to attend any mass hot air balloon event, don't miss it. Forget the dishes, take some motrin if you have pain, call a friend or call a cab, but get there, you own't regret it. It was really a magical evening that I will never forget!
My hubby and two of my kids with Balloons in back.

A gorgeous balloon over downtown TC!

One of my favorite balloons over TC.

We saw this one inflated and launch, so cool!

My youngest posing with another beautiful balloon over TC.
     And even though I was riding higher than I have in a while, it got even better! The next day, Saturday, I actually got to cross something off my bucket list, Woo Woo! I got a chance to attend a live recording of "Prairie Home Companion," at the Interlochen Center for Performing Arts. So tomorrow, I'll post photos and all the details of that wonderful adventure...