Friday, April 30, 2010

mmmmm yogurt

I love yogurt. well, today I love yogurt. it's one of those foods that I go back and forth on, because sometimes the texture just gets to me. but today I love yogurt.

have you checked out how much sugar is in a little container of yogurt, though? too much, I think. plus, well, you may guess that I don't like all the little plastic containers, either. I have issues. it's well documented.

so, my favorite treat these days starts with plain yogurt. here I can get fairly local (woohoo!) plain yogurt in a big glass (yipee!) jar. add in a spoonful of plum jam and a handful (or sometimes two) of walnuts. oh it's heavenly. and, since I control how much of what goes in, I've cut the sugar by more than half!

lauren's favorite yogurt is plain with a handful of chocolate chips. I know, chocolate chips = sugar. but, again, mama decides how many chips go in. sugar content there reduced by about half, depending on how generous I'm feeling with the chips.

the dog and cats like it plain. well, actually, they like it any way they can get it. good thing it's good for them, too?

by the way, Aubrey and Daddy are camping with girl scouts this weekend, it's yogurt for dinner tonight.

the house(s) that built me

Miranda Lambert has a song, The House that Built Me, that makes me cry every time I hear it. I could play it 12 times in a row and I'd cry 12 times in a row.

I grew up in Albuquerque. My parents are still in the house they bought about a month before I was born. Albuquerque is home, always will be. But it's not my only childhood home. The houses that comprised what we affectionately called "the compound" in Deming are my other home. 75 years ago my great grandparents bought a large brick home on about half an acre - for $1,500. When my grandparents married, my greatgrandparents gave them half their land, and a modest home, the plan for which was advertised in Better Homes & Gardens, was built.

My mom and her 4 siblings lived here, with mom & dad, grandmother & grandfather, Uncle Dick and often Aunt Mary Jane. Can you imagine being raised by so many loving people? Always someone around to help with whatever you needed, listen to your story, read you a book, tease you about your crush.

Anyway, my memories of these houses go throughout my childhood. Playing on the stairs as a little kid, with my older cousin humoring us. In the kitchen in the small house, making cream puffs with my grandma. The swing Grandpa John always hung on the pecan tree out back, and the patch of ground where the grass n olonger grew because we wore it away as we swung.
The neighbor's wisteria that hung over the alley, always in full bloom when Ali and I would spend spring break there without our parents. The spring break of my junior year of high school, making construction paper buttons to campaign for student body vp. Mary Jane's basil for Mary Jane's pesto.
It's where I learned to ride my bike. And where I learned to drive.
Playing 'house' with Ali and my younger cousin, Rebecca, upstairs in the old apartments. Decorating the Thanksgiving table with pilgrim and indian candles - candles that were probably bought for a dime 60 years ago, and that we never, ever light. Wearing over-turned buckets on our heads to protect from falling pecans as we gather the nuts our uncles shake from the trees.
But the front porch, oh the front porch - endless hours playing with Ali and Rebecca. The front porch was a pizzeria. A dance studio. A bakery. An upscale restaurant. An ice cream shop. Mostly, a place for sitting and dreaming and teasing and imagining.

Since I was a kid, I've always cried on the drive out of Deming, hoping that I was going to see everyone again. Driving out of Deming after Dick's service, I cried a more final cry. I didn't know which way to drive out of town - which route to take - because I couldn't decide what I needed one last look at. The large brick home is still in the family, but the smaller one was sold. I don't know how long the brick one will remain, but I'm not sure that it matters - I don't know that I want to start building different memories there. And I think I'm not alone in that thought.

When we went to spread Dick's ashes at the homestead, the same place Mary Jane's ashes were spread in December, I could feel their presence. Not just Dick and Mary Jane, but also Marg and Jimmy, and my Grandpa John who died 4 years ago. They were gathered there, celebrating.

The day after we spread ashes, Sasha was baptized in the church I was baptized in. The church my mom and her siblings were baptized in. The church my grandparents were married in. And I felt their presence there, again. Very powerfully.

I'm sure I'll be in Deming again, if there's anything the family needs to do to finish clearing out the house. But that chapter has effectively ended. No more 4th of July gatherings, fireworks in the driveway. No more Thanksgiving meals prepared in the 2 kitchens, with 30 people bowing their heads as Uncle Dick says prayer. I'm curious where our family is headed. We are incredibly close when we are together, but don't communicate much the rest of the year. Something we are working on.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

green hat

I love this green hat. Because it keeps my head warm when I'm sleeping on our campouts. But mostly, really, because it's cute. And soft. And green. Aubrey summed up camping perfectly this morning, "This is the life!" I agree!

I hope you are having a relaxing, enjoyable weekend!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fly away home

Tio passed away this morning. In his sleep, peacefully. Part of me knows God's Plan is perfect, that His reasons are good. But that doesn't make it easier. And I'm left wondering His reasons - though it's not my place to know and I know that.

I'm not upset that Tio passed away. It's what happens. He had 80 years here on earth, a good life. There's just been so much death so close together, and the pain of 4 siblings dying within 5 months of eachother, well it burns.

So I'm praying this morning. Taking deep breaths. And remembering Tio.

Monday, April 5, 2010


the 3 cleanest girls around.... for about 5 minutes. :-)

Awhile back I mentioned the sweet little boy we met at the park, who chatted and chatted and chatted to me. Upon learning that we both visit Deming, he asked if I knew Louisa. Yup. It's for sure now. I know his Louisa. Or he knows my Louisa. Whatever. It's a small world.

Louisa is a very dear friend to Tio, my great uncle. The last remaining siblilng of my Grandma Marg's. Tio is in the hospital right now. Dehydration, pneumonia, congestive heart failure. I'm preparing myself to go out there, but not loading up the car just yet. We'll see how he's doing over the next few days.

Our next camping trip is this weekend. I'm excited. Our goal is to camp every other weekend until it's too hot. We're gonna be expert campers, I tell ya! Or maybe not. It might get too dang hot here in Central Texas mid-May. ;-)

I'm going to be a preschool teacher next year. At Lauren's school. There's a room with one year olds - looks like I'll be in that room with Sasha.

Our new cat has been tough to name. So we've had him almost 2 months, and this week he's Frankie. But last week he wasn't. Sheesh. It shouldn't be this hard. At least the cat doesn't care what we call him.

I took my car in for an oil change today, and had the mechanic check on a few things. $400 later, my oil's been changed, and some problems that should have been noticed a year ago (when I dropped a crap load of cash at our Wisconsin mechanic's feet) were that much worse and have now been fixed. Ah well. Such is life.

Aubrey slammed a stuck bathroom door into her foot, breaking her pinky toe. Ouch. The brusing and swelling has been impressive.

Sasha thinks it's hilarious when Lauren runs screaming at her. Laurens loves running and screaming, so it works out.

The Easter Bunny was very generous to us this year. Maybe a twinge of sadness (when realizing that EVERY Easter of Aubrey's life, and Lauren's, had been spent with our WI family) prompted the shopping spree at the candy store. But chocolate covered gummy bears, candy legos and "Indoor Truffles," along with half the rest of the candy store, have been enjoyed.

I just read Fortune's Daughter by Alice Hoffman. It's been on my bookshelf for years. I have no idea how it came to live on my bookshelf, and I finally read it. It was really good.

We've been working on the garden lately. Most of it is in whiskey barrels. I have 3 barrels. It's a modest garden. But, it's a garden. Now I need to work up the courage to start vermicomposting.