Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful for the Nasties

My first big Thanksgiving endeavor I was a brave, brave girl.  I invited not only my mom and her best friend over to our duplex with a 7 x 7 (maybe) galley kitchen, I invited my in law parents as well.
I insisted we cook everything.  From scratch, of course.

Oh, and I was 23.

I begged my mom to come over and help.  Believe me, there was no way I could get it done by myself.  Hubs hadn't developed his love of the kitchen yet and although he was always helpful, we needed the precious real estate to maneuver all these dishes in and out of the oven (which was across from the sink so mom and I could stand butt to butt for hours on end).

I did have an advantage.  I had watched my mom cook Thanksgiving feasts my whole life.  Not just "hung around the smells" kind of watching.... staring intently, trying to soak up the knowledge of how she could amazingly get everything perfectly cooked on the table at the same time.

That has always been my end goal as a cook - how to get it all done and presented beautifully.  I have to admit I'm a little bit anal about it and freak out when it doesn't go my way.

4 am, we started a pot of coffee.  Or maybe even another one, I can't remember.  My mother could drink coffee 24/7 and did.  She bequeathed that awesome skill to my bestie who gulps caffeine goodness all day and night.

I was insistent to handle the bird.  I wanted to be able to say I did it.  Pulling the bag from the inside, I turned to chuck it in the trash when my mom slapped at me furiously (yes, she did that a lot).

"STOP!  Don't throw that away!"

"Isn't it just the neck and insides, mom?  The yucky stuff?"

"It's the gold, dear.  We have to use it to make everything taste good.  Get me a pot."

Confused, I lean over to grab a stockpot.  I watch intrepidly as she fills it with cold water, empties the contents of the nasty bag into it and sets it on the stove over the flame.

"We have to make a stock, you know... broth."

Oooh.  Broth.  Okay, I think I'd heard of that somewhere.  

{I can't help but laugh as I type this... my daughter and I would laugh now at such foolishness.  Everyone knows all you have to do is Google it.....}

We played dice at the table, her drinking coffee with clouds and me I'm sure drinking a RED coca cola (my staple in my early 20's) waiting.  The bird was cooking, the nasties were simmering and all was good in the world.  Hubs and Bubba emerged for the morning to smells of goodness all around.

And then, it was time.

We entered the kitchen to deal with the nasties.  Grabbing a colander and a bowl, I strained the golden juice from the pan.  I have to admit, it did smell amazingly yummy.  She was right.  Damnit, she was always right.

As I stepped towards the trash with the icky remnants, she grabbed me once again.

"Little lady, where do you think you are going with that?"

"It's trash, mom!  I'm going to the trash!"

"Nope, get back over here with that right now."

I handed her the colander and stood back in horror.  Her hands sifted through the mess, pulling out the heart, the kidneys, the liver.  As she handed me back the colander with the neck and lungs still present, I pushed down the bile rising in my throat.  I turned and chucked the nasties into the trash, wishing I could just jam them down a garbage disposal (of which we didn't have at that time).

Yielding a knife, she went to work chopping the organs into teeny, tiny pieces.  I was horrified - what in the hell was she doing?  She scooped up her prize possessions and threw them straight into the pyrex pan holding the bread cubes.

The stuffing.  She put that icky crap into the stuffing.

"Mom, what are you doing?!  You can't put that nasty stuff in there!"

"My dear, you have eaten my stuffing since you were born.  Do you think I just made this up for your benefit today?  This is my recipe and has been for years.... and you love it."

Gasp.  I almost wanted to cry.  Actually, I think I may have.

All those years she had lied.  Well, did she?  She never told me that junk was in there but then again, I never noticed.

I watched as she ladled our golden juice into the stuffing as well, tossing it together and covering it with foil.  She smiled as she popped it into the oven and returned to her spot at the table, lifting her coffee with a final sly grin.


The dinner was a hit.  We were cramped and crowded, with only one bathroom for 7 people and less than 500 sq ft.  We laughed, we ate and we loved.

And we even ate the stuffing.  All of it.  Oh, and the juice also went in the awesome gravy, too....

I am thankful for that experience and the other 18 Thanksgivings that followed it.  I have always loved this day and always will.  I miss my mom especially on this day but cannot help but reflect on our laughs, our jokes (almost always inappropriate) and our love for one another.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends and family.  I am thankful for YOU.


Monday, November 04, 2013

Just Turn It Off

Just like that, he flipped the switch.

Both of my boys got an amazing skill... and not from me.  They have my passion about their own likes (and dislikes for that matter - little guy is NEVER going to like broccoli, no matter how many times he tries it) but they definitely possess an ability to let go that I have never attained.  I call it "flipping the switch".  Turning it off.  Letting it go.  Moving on and not looking back.

It's amazing to me, really.  I still mull over conversations I had 20 years ago, replaying them in my mind wondering what other path I might have taken and what that might have led towards.  It's a curse, really.  Not necessarily a regret though.  Just an inability to turn it off.

I guess I have a lot of lights on upstairs.

Our final football games occurred this weekend.  Knowing exactly what we were most likely entering, little guy had huge passion and fire.  He was excited.  He was nervous.  Despite a rough season, he wanted to leave his heart all over that field.

He did.  He worked hard.  He made mistakes.  And he loved every progress and success.  As he sat on the field after the final game, he fought back tears.  Not tears of disappointment - he knew better than that.  Tears that once again the game he loves has come to end.  His pure love of the game is an awesome thing to witness.

We hugged a lot last night.  We wrapped up on the couch for a few hours.  We snuggled before bed talking about it.

And today, it is gone.  The switch is flipped.  He isn't dwelling.  He isn't sad.

It's basketball season.

I wish I could do that.  All of that passion, excitement, drama, anxiousness, stress... all shut off.

And who says we can't learn from our children.

Have a great Monday, friends!


Friday, November 01, 2013


Ahh... my favorite month of the year is finally upon us!  Not only does it hold my favorite holiday, I'm reminded all month of how grateful I am.  Grateful for my family, my amazing friends, my health... the list is so long I couldn't begin to capture it all in one message.

Kicking off the month with my fave post of the week, my favorite things, I'll begin with this one.  I absolutely love my blog.  Yes, at times it appears to be controversial.  Yes, I may not always agree with everyone that I know.  Yes, sometimes I am repetitive and maybe not interesting to others.

But it's all me.  It's all mine.  At least once a year I remind anyone that really hangs around long enough to read any of my posts that I created this site (now SIX years ago!) to capture my life journey as a woman, a parent, a spouse and a friend.  I write about MY perceptions of life events, which may not always be aligned with everyone else reading.  I illustrate my flaws, often ask for advice when conflicted or confused and write the honest truth about what is happening in my life.  It's not always popular.  Sometimes people get mad at me.

I allow that, of course.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, just as I.  But if you carefully read my words, you will see that I never write lies.  My words are intentional.  When I do on occasion spew angry posts, I save them and typically delete them the next day.

It's hard for others at time to look inside, admit their own flaws.  That has never been an issue for me.  I'm filled with them (as evidenced by my blog!)  The difference is I'm not afraid to admit them.  Because deep down, I know someone else will identify with me by admitting the truth.  And someone always does!

So to kick off November - today I am grateful for my truths.  I'm grateful for the ability to write and be honest.  I'm grateful for the platform to do so.  And I'm grateful for the clarity that typically comes along with the process.

Enjoy my faves this week, friends!


Yep.  By far my fave uniform for fall.  LOVE IT!


After a long run in cool weather there is nothing better than a full dunk.  I love tubs in general but this square version screams to me.  Coupled with the stone walls, I'm in total heaven.


AHH!  Love shorty boots!  These are definitely on top of my list!


Mmm... I love pumpkin.  And who doesn't love cream cheese.  This swirly dip looks decadent to me.  Click here for the link to the recipe! ---->  Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip


This is exactly how I feel.  If I can't get it down on paper, it didn't happen.  I love looking back at my old journals from childhood.  I have a terrible long term memory and writing has always helped me chronicle life events and have a platform to remember better.

That and I completely love it.


Before swarovski crystals, the seventies boasted the macrame.  And my mother was leading the charge in my childhood 'hood to sell anything and everything to everyone.  All things mac came out of our garage!  She was mostly known for her hanging plant holders, but I have a feeling if she saw this gem she would have fashioned it in a moment's notice.

I miss her.  And that smell of macrame in my garage.  Some things I will never forget.


I absolutely love technology but some days I am worn out trying to learn all the new gadgets and short cuts to be more efficient.

I caught of a glimpse of this last week and couldn't help but giggle.  My little guy didn't get it at all.  Of course.


I find it very hard at times to figure out my gift giving throughout the year.  I usually lean one of two ways:  functional or sentimental.  I'm not one to throw down cash on an item because of it's THE thing to buy.  It still must have a need somehow or I just can't part with the cash to do it.

By far my fave gifts to give are homemade.  Something about handing something off you put time and effort into in a calculated way makes me always feel proud.  I found a great site for the best homemade gifts for 2013 so I thought I'd share it with you!  Click here -----> Ultimate List of 2013 Food Gifts


MUST HAVE!  I love this hobo bag!  Great color, great size.  Perfect for me.


When I see a birch tree I instantly think of Hubs.  And Colorado, of course.  He absolutely loves them.  I love the delicacy of their bark but mostly love when those gorgeous orange leaves drop and the white trees stand against the blue skies.  Truly fall!

Happy November, friends!