Thursday, July 12, 2012

Road Trip!

I've traveled quite a bit in my lifetime. I love road trips.

"Bye Honey, Miss you already"
This is the first time I've ever driven across country by myself though. Notice the enormous antenna on top of Big Red? The hubby installed a CB Radio for my trip....just in case I needed help where there is no cell phone service. It's an attractive look, don't you think?
Breaker 1-9, Breaker 1-9, any smokey's up head? 10-4 Good Buddy!
Sorry, couldn't help myself...

As I drove, and drove, and drove...I thought about all my travels, especially my childhood vacations in the family roadster. 
"holiday road... oOOoooooo"

The southwest is filled with these nostalgic billboards. Everyone I saw made we want to take that exit and check out what was inside. If not for such long days of driving, and scorching heat, I might've stopped at quite a few.

Please note, I do not recommend taking pictures while driving on the interstate at a high rate of speed as I did.

After 3 LONG days of driving, I reached my 1st destination. Tennessee! I could not drive across country without stopping and seeing my favorite daughter who is 6 months pregnant with my very first grandbaby, now could I?

My daughter and future-son-in-law
 
 my two adorable grand doggies.

It was a very short but wonderful visit. We had lots of girl time. We went shopping, dined out, stayed up late every night talking, and I even got to feel my grand baby moving around in her Mama's belly! She is quite the active baby already. The visit was much too short, but I'll be returning in October when my beautiful granddaughter Katie Faye arrives into this world.
My daughter and I saying goodbye.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Journey "Home"

For the past few years, I've made many trips from my home in the desert to my "other" home on the farm in IL. My mother had been ill with Alzheimers for several years and I tried to spend as much time with her as possible while providing respite for my step-dad. Mom passed away last November with her loved ones by her side.  

My step-dad sold the farm house and is moving into a retirement duplex. Although, I am extremely happy he will now have plenty of free time to enjoy himself, it is also very sad that my "other home" will be gone. This is the home my step-dad was raised in. His family moved into this house in 1936. well before he was even born. He and my mother remodeled the home  and moved there in the mid 80's.  Even though I was not raised in this house, it was the home where I spent all my holiday's as an adult, hung out with my family, returned to live for a short time in my early 20's, and it was the home I always knew would be there for me should I ever need it. In other words, it was and always will be a very special place to me.

At 47 years old, I never expected to experience this type of loss. I knew my parents would age and that I would have to deal with illness, caretaking and their passing. I have been preparing myself for that reality for years. But this loss of a home filled with family treasures is not something I ever even remotely considered. It's a bit of a shocker that I would be so attached to a house and the material things inside of it.

My Journey "Home" begins tomorrow. Big Red (my pickup truck) and I will be making our 3rd trip across country together. My first time ever driving it alone.  I invite you all to join me in this journey as I travel home to help sell off the contents of this house and say goodbye. There will be laughter and maybe a few tears along the way. Life is an adventure though, and I choose to embrace it!

Praying for God's Traveling Mercies,
Gina

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Heat is On!

I live in Las Vegas.
So does Elvis. We're buds.

Las Vegas is a desert.
Summers can be brutal here.
Notice the lack of shade.

Today the high is supposed to be 110.
But the plus side is the humidity is only around 3 %. (sarcasim)
I love it when people say "but it's a DRY heat." Well, so is my oven and it cooks a turkey perfectly!


Happy Summer Y'all!




Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's a Start!

Way back in December, I posted my New Years Resolution here. It's all about how I want to organize my home, life, etc... Believe or not, I'm still plugging away at obtaining some sense of organized bliss.  Here is my latest accomplishment (Thanks to my hubby).

A few years ago, I purchased a tool shed for the backyard. The goal was to relocate some of the clutter from my garage so it could become the garage majal of my dreams.

As you can clearly see, that dream has not been acheived!

The shed didn't look much better....
Even my dog is scared looking in there.

Thanks to my hubby's mad carpentry skills, we now have SHELVES!!
Thanks Honey.

Now for the finished product.....
Organized Bliss.....ahhhhh.

It does crack me up that we have FOUR gas cans. We live in the desert, our little patch of grass takes 15 minutes once a month to mow. Maybe this explains what's going on in the garage!






Friday, April 13, 2012

The Measure of Success

We measure success differently throughout our life. In high school, we might measure success by how many friends we have or how busy our social calendar is. Or by how many boys heads we can turn. At least that's what is was for me. Then it became about having a good job, getting promotions, buying my own home, driving a decent car, etc... Once you have children, of course the priorities changed again. Your measure of success lies completely in how good of a parent you are and how well you provide for your childs needs.

Mid life brings new meaning to the term successful. Seeing my children grown and making their own way in life brings me tremendous joy. For me it has been a time of great reflection. I no longer feel the need to work 50+ hours a week. I am thankful that I was able to support my family so well but having a lot of money is definitely not a priority of mine. It's not worth giving up time with my family. Money can never replace the time I spent caring for my mother before she passed away. It can not replace the time I spend with my family now, cooking meals or just enjoying their company. It could never replace the late night talks my children and I had after they came home from work or out with friends when they were teenagers. The older I become the more I treasure each of those little moments.

I live a Blessed life. I don't really have a job right now and money is tight at my house. But that's ok. You see, I have the priviledge of caring for my family and for others. I have the priviledge of helping. Helping strangers through volunteer work, helping my family by being available for them, helping my Church by serving. There is no greater joy for me than doing for others. Isn't that what Jesus taught us? Sure, I need to work. We have to pay our bills and buy food. But work no longer defines who I am as it once did. That, my friends is how I measure success now. By having my priorities in order. This is one of the great joys of being middle aged.





Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The only true constant is change

Is that an oxymoron? Or some type of really profound statement? Beats me, but I do say and think it quite often.

This popped into my head today as I wandered around the Walmart, completely lost and very much out of my element. Now, please don't think I'm bashing Walmart Shoppers. That is not the case at all, I just prefer speciality stores. You know craft stores for craft items. Grocery stores for food, clothing stores for....well, you get the idea. 

As I tried in vain to locate Milk Bones for my dog, it occurred to me this type of store has not really been around that long. When I was growing up, you could not have your tires replaced on your car while you shopped for groceries while picking up your fishing license along with bait and hey might as well grab some extra shotgun shells, some fabric and a new dress while you're at it. Talk about your one stop shopping!

And technology! How many conversations did we NOT have as teenagers tethered to a phone attached to the wall of the kitchen where every member of your household happened to be whenever the phone call was for YOU.

Many things I utilize in my daily life were not around when I was a child. Digital clocks, microwaves, home computers, FM radio for goodness sakes. The list goes on and on.

Why am I being so nostalgic? I'm not sure, but it might have something to do with my daughter being pregnant. What changes will occur in the lifetime of my grandchild. Will we revert to the old days of Mom and Pop stores with my grand baby telling their children about how when they were young you could get everything you needed in one store?

Who knows what the future holds. It's 2012 and we still aren't driving those hover crafts they promised...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tell them how you Really Feel!

That's right, go on tell them what you really think of them!! Don't be afraid. Maybe they need to hear it!

A lot of changes happen as we age. One of the positive changes for me is no longer being afraid to say what's on my mind. I no longer have the fear of "Will they think I'm some kind of freak?" In other words, in mid life I'm finally comfortable with who I am. What a great place to be!

 I love to tell people just what I think of them and I am hoping to encourage you to do the same. By now, you might be thinking "What is up with this Chick? Does she go around berating people or what??"  Of course not!! I am talking about really telling people what you think of them, how they have impacted your life or what they truly mean to you. It's easier than you think. Write a letter, send a note card or just look the person in the eye and tell them whatever it is you really like about this person. It doesn't have to be a big production. A few kind words and taking the time to express them is quite meaningful. Just make sure it's genuine and sincere.

My challenge to you. Take an extra 5 minutes this week and let someone know what they mean to you. You might just be glad you did.





Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why O Why?

Monday was quite the productive day for me. My guest room started becoming my office and craft room. Measurements were taken. Furniture was moved. Power tools were used. Excitement abounded!

Then it started, I showered and headed to Church for a meeting. I had the chills, couldn't get warm. I live in the Desert. It's just not that cold here. Mind was kind of fuzzy. Well, more fuzzy than normal. By the time I arrived home I knew that the flu, yep the stupid FLU had invaded my body. Temperature pushing 101, chills, body aches. Why O Why did I not get a flu shot this year? And Lord, please let me not have infected the entire Church Leadership Committee!!

All my plans for the next day, ca put! Cancelled everything. Still running a fever and feeling achy. That means I am contagious. Germaphobes do not like to spread their germs anymore than they want to receive germs. I must now lay around all day watching TV and playing mindless facebook games while whining "I haaaaate being sick."

That night, lying in bed an itchy spot started annoying me. As my hand made it's way to said itchy spot, bumps were discovered....what the heck is this? Uh Oh....it all started sinking in, the fever, chills, body ache. This happened once before five years ago. Yep, sure enough. Upon further investigation, it was not the flu at all. I had been bitten by a black widow spider.

On my buttock, my rear end, my behind, my gall darn Butt! How the heck can a spider bite you on the butt and you not even know for 24 hours?? How did the spider get there in the first place and what the heck is a black widow spider doing hanging around my house?? And where is the spider now??? I Must find these answers! Anyone know a good P.I. for hire?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Time to Start!

You might recall my New Years Resolution in the possibilities post was to Organize!! Oh how my mind has been overflowing with ideas since then. As I normally do, I've let stuff (or excuses?) get in the way of obtaining my goals. Thirty Three days into the new year, I am recommittting to my organization goal and using this forum to hold myself accountable. You see, my word is good. If I committ to someone, it's done. No excuses or backing out at that point. When committing to myself, well you can probably figure that out by this post.

Where to begin?? I have decided to create a space just for me. One where I can close the door and read a good book or work on a craft project and not have to clean it all up to serve dinner only to drag it out again to finish it up. Can I get an Amen here!?!

Currently my husband and I share a small office that looks like this. I should be embarrassed by the clutter, but hey. Just keeping it real here.


Hubbys Desk
My Desk
It is quite difficult to be in this space together as there is no room for us to spread out our stuff to work on our different projects. Of course we could just declutter and make do but we also have a small guest room that looks like this.
Messy bookcase



I do love company and living in a tourist hotspot, I have had my share of overnight guests. But lately the room sits pretty much unused. What if I turn this small guest room into my very own space? Will I still be able to accomodate overnight guests? Well, that is my goal. Thank you for helping me be accountable! I'll keep you posted. 


Saturday, January 28, 2012

I'm Baaa-aack

It's been a while since I've posted. For those of you anxiously awaiting to find out what my warped middle aged brain wants to share, and I'm sure there are lots of you,  I apologize.

Here are some highlights since my last post.

  • I nursed my hubby, then had him nurse me through the worst cold ever....or is it just harder to chug through something like this when you're pushing the big 5-0??
  • Took my baby girl to the doggy spa, then spent the rest of the day wondering why I don't go to the spa every 5 weeks like she does.
Can't you see I'm trying to nap? Stop taking my picture, please.
  • Accomplished absolutely nothing towards my goal of organizing my home/self this year.
  • Cleaned the house from top to bottom, moving all the furniture, etc....Trying to get every spec of dust and dirt out of the house. Is it even possible to get a house that clean when you don't live in the desert??
  • Spent an eternity at the hospital while my husband had sinus surgery.
  • Felt like a 30 year old again driving around in my son's new convertable. Might have to get me one of those.
  • Spent way too many hours playing mindless games on facebook. My self soothing addiction when I'm sick....
  • Came up with about a hundred idea's for more projects when taking breaks from the mindless facebook games. Note to self:Next time you're sick, watch TV instead of thinking.
  • Really missed writing in my blog. Might even start sharing it with more people.
Have a great Weekend everyone!!
     
     
     

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Always!!

Anytime someone in my household gets sick, I catch it. Maybe that's why I'm such a germaphobe.

I HATE BEING SICK!! But then again, who really likes being sick??

What do you do when your sick?
Watch T.V?
Read?
Pretend your not sick and still manage to accomplish things?

First I try to deny it and keep pushing myself, when I finally give in to the illness I either vegetate in front of the T.V or play games all day on facebook. This illness is a play games all day on facebook kind of thing. This is day four of being completely useless. This is the last day though. Tomorrow, I will go with option 3 above. I have things to do!

Wishing you all good health.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Soups On!

My poor hubby is sick. Coughing, stuffy nose, tired and achy kind of sick. I feel bad for him. Especially since I'm a major germaphobe and refuse to let him touch anything.

ME          "Here, let me change the channel for you. I don't want you to touch the remote."
HIM         "I just washed my hands!"
ME           "I'll still do it for you. I really don't want to get sick."

On the bright side, I'm a nurturer. So you get pretty spoiled when you're sick in my house. Today I made some Chicken Noodle Soup to hopefully make the hubby feel better. He is normally the chicken soup chef but he taught me well, so I thought I'd share with y'all.

Ingredients
1 Whole Chicken
1 bunch of celery
3 carrots
1 onion, peeled
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 bunch parsley (if you have some)
1 1/2 cup uncooked Ditalini Noodles (or noodle of your preference)
salt and pepper

Place the whole chicken into a large pot and cover with water. Cut the celery, 1 carrot and onion into large pieces. Add the veggies, garlic, bay leaves and parsley to the pot. Add a tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Or whatever looks good to you. I don't measure.

It should look something like this.


Cover and cook at a low boil for about 3 hours. Check the water level every hour or so and add water if needed about 1/2 way through cooking time. After 2 hours, taste your liquid and salt/pepper to taste.

Dice the other 2 carrots and set aside.



The chicken is done when it falls off the bone when you touch it (with a spoon, silly. It's HOT). Remove the chicken and veggies. Toss the veggies into the trash. They've served their purpose. At this point, you may strain your liquid to ensure all the chunks of veggies are removed. I use a skimmer to remove my chicken and veggies so I skip the straining step

My Skimmer

Add the chopped carrots to the boiling water. Let them cook for 2 minutes, then add the pasta. While the pasta cooks, de bone the chicken and chop or shred into little pieces. When the pasta is cooked to al dente add the chicken back to the pot and simmer for another 5 minutes or so. Then serve it up with some chopped parsley for garnish.

Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Distractions

Some days are just more productive than others. Like the days you're all alone in the house....all by yourself....no distractions.....Glory Hallelujah and Amen. But some distractions can be good for you. Especially if you live in my house. Thanks for making me laugh, guys. 
video

Enjoy the distractions in your life. Laughter IS the best medicine!

Note: The guy in the green shirt that hides is my son.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Coupon Craziness

I like knowing what makes people tick. Why they do the bizarre and unnatural things they do. That's what makes me so interested in watching shows about hoarders and other type of extreme behaviors.

Note to self: Use caution when watching these shows around the hubby....

He's very impressed with Extreme Couponing, on TLC. So much so, that he now collects all the abandoned Sunday Circulars from the empty houses in our neighborhood. Did I tell you we live in one of the highest foreclosure zip codes in the nation....Yep, that's a LOT of empty houses in our neighborhood.



That's also a lot of coupons to clip.
This is just a small sample.

It wouldn't be so bad except I am a big supporter of Coups For Troups. That means, instead of just cutting out the coupons I use, every coupon is cut out and either used or donated. Just a small way to thank the men and woman who serve in our Armed Forces.

I've actually gotten a blister on my thumb from clipping so many coupons. Really, a blister is not so bad when you consider what the troops go through for us.....Neither is having a husband that'll walk the neighborhood and pick up the unused circulars without me ever asking. Saving soldiers money, helping the environment (because we recycle), and keeping our neighborhood clean!!  

Would that be killing three birds with one stone? Where did that saying come from anyway??? Why would we want to stone a bird to death??

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Madness

Sundays are a day of Worship. And Rest. I Love Sundays!! Church, dining out, lingerering over the Sunday paper, watching a movie, just enjoying life without a worry in the world.

...But then comes Monday. As soon as that alarm rings, a hundred tasks start racing through my mind. It's a brand new week. Just think of the possibilities.This will be the week all my projects are completed, my house will be cleaned from top to bottom, and I will be a invaluable member to every committee in which I serve. Oh, and I will prepare delicious and healthy homecooked meals every evening for my family to enjoy while looking lovely and wearing pearls.



But first, I need coffee....and lot's of it.



Happy Monday Everyone.




  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Opposites Attract

I love this picture.
It says a lot about my hubby.
It says he is a good sport.
It shows how he goes along with my wild impulses.
It shows that he will only go so far in being spontaneous.
(I said "Act Excited" and this was his pose)
My hubby does NOT like to have his picture taken
Or draw undo attention to himself.
Yet he married me...
 and there he is,
posing for this picture in a crowded casino.
Not one complaint about it either.
I really appreciate that about him.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's always an adventure

The first stop on my quest for organizational sundries was a favorite spot of mine, The 99 Cent Store. Yes that mecca of bargains, all for under a buck.

As I walked through the parking lot of my beloved 99 Cent Store, two men looking a little suspicious and quite nervous repeated in a low tone while their eyes were darting back and forth probably looking for DEA, FBI, or some other type of undercover agents, "Tamales....Pork....Tamales."

Uh....WHAT? Did they really just try to sell me a tamale out of the back of their mini-van? Is that a new code word for crack or something?

Of course I behaved just as any good Las Veganite would. I ignored them and kept walking. Didn't even give it another thought as I entered the store.

On my way out though, the men had become brazen in their quest to become tamale pushers. The mini-van hatch was open displaying coolers and Styrofoam containers while they showed off their "product" by munching the tamales. Yes, a much better strategy. You can't get arrested for having a pic nic in the 99 Cent Store parking lot. Kudos men on your entrepreneurial spirit. One hint though, not a lot of people are going to buy prepared food out of the back of a mini-van. Maybe the bags of oranges at the freeway off ramp IS the better idea.

Let the Organizing Begin!

I decided to stick with my New Years resolution to organize myself/home/life. For some reason I've been lacking in motivation and feeling very lethargic lately. Could it be the 500 Christmas cookies or the pound of fudge I ate last month?? Surely not.

Baby steps seemed to be a good way to start. You know celebrate the small success's and all that. So I straightened up the hall closet and my pantry. No pictures to post as you really wouldn't notice a difference but it looks and feels pretty good to me. Next on the agenda, shopping!! Everyone knows to properly organize, one must have great tools.