Monday, June 26, 2006

The Evolution of a Trip

A few weeks ago, my sister Alicia and I were headed over to Dad's for the day. We were talking about our summer plans when she mentioned that she desperately wanted to go to Colorado. Alicia absolutely loves Colorado. However, her husband couldn't take off work and none of her children wanted to go. (She has 4 children - 2 are in college, one will be a senior next year, and her youngest is 13) She said she wanted to just get in the car and go - no reservations, no firm plans - just go. So I said, "Why don't we go?"

She was so excited to see that I was interested. We immediately started talking logistics. It would be Alicia, her son (who is young enough to be told he's going on vacation), me, and my 2 kids. We would go to Mesa Verde and be gone a week. We would have to get our husband's "okay", of course, but we didn't see that as a real problem. Wow, what fun!

Then, our first obstacle. We received invitations to a wedding shower for my dad's bride-to-be. Right smack dab in the middle of our trip. This was the only week Alicia could go, as well. So, it was either miss the trip or miss the shower. We didn't feel like we could miss the shower, so the trip would have to be modified.

On to plan B. 3 days in San Antonio. We'd go to Sea World, the River Walk, the Alamo, and one or two of the other missions. It would be cheaper (making the husbands happier), and we'd still be getting out of town. The kids have never been to Sea World, so they were happy. The shower was yesterday and we were to leave this morning.

Then, my sister called last night. Was my heart really set on San Antonio? Well... She was feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the trip. She had had no time to get ready for it. We could still go, but... What did I think about going to Schlitterbahn in Galveston? I could tell by her voice that she was not doing this lightly.

I talked to the kids, stressing how hot Sea World was going to be, and how we could go in the fall when it was cooler. Were they okay with it? Yep, they were. Okay, Alicia, we can do that. However, what do you think about staying the night in Galveston after Schlitterbahn, then going to the beach the next day. Sounds great to her! We leave tomorrow morning.

So we went from a week-long trip to Colorado, to 3 days in San Antonio, to 2 days in Galveston. Alicia thanked me profusely for being so sweet about the whole thing. I told that I thought if she ever suggested a day trip to me, we'd probably end up downgrading it to shopping at Wal-Mart. :)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Wedding in the Family

I've been mulling over this post in my mind for weeks. I want to handle this graciously, but honestly. I don't share my blog with many "real" people in my life, but if they do come by, I don't want to be ashamed of what I've written. So, what's the big deal?

My dad is getting married. July 29th.

I'm happy for him. I really am. I know he's been lonely. I always expected him to marry again. Mom wanted him to marry again. (She even tried to make recommendations! LOL) It's been a year and a half since Mom passed, and that's a respectable time of mourning. Marsha, his bride-to-be, is a lovely lady.


It's hard. It's harder than I thought it would be. Everything is going to change. Everything.

I was going to give Daddy a scrapbook of his and my mom's trip to Scotland from about 5 years ago. Mom had started working on it when she first got sick and never finished it. I somehow ended up with the pictures and supplies. I was waiting for a time when it would not be so painful for him. Now, it just seems like it would be tacky. "Here's your wedding present, Daddy. A scrapbook of the biggest trip you and Mom ever took!" Umm, no, I don't think so.

Marsha lives in another town. She has a business of her own, so it makes sense for Daddy to move to where she is. The travel distance for me is just a bit farther, but that means I no longer have a reason to go "home". I was thinking today about lifelong friends of my parents that I may never see again. That makes me sad (and determined that I will go back for visits).

Holidays will present new and different challenges. Daddy will no longer belong to us alone. He will have to consider his new wife and her family needs. That is as it should be, but it's just one more thing to juggle.

I'm going to have a step-mother. Wild.

And I know there will be other changes that I haven't even thought of yet.

I want to emphasize again that I am happy for my dad. I really, really am.

I'm just a bit sad for me.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Kitchen Meme

I was tagged by Sprittibee via her Gathering Manna blog to participate in this kitchen meme.

1. How many meals does most of your family eat at home each week? How many are in your family?

There are 4 of us in my family. On weekdays, we typically eat breakfast and dinner at home. I am currently trying to break the eating-out-for-lunch habit for me and the kids. Griff eats lunch out every day. On weekends, we eat out 2-3 times (depending on the current cashflow). So, I'd say we eat about 15 meals at home each week.

2. How many cookbooks do you own?

16. Most of them are the church cookbook variety - my favorites!

3. How often do you refer to a cookbook each week?

Probably twice.

4. Do you collect recipes from other sources? If so, what are some of your favorite sources (relatives, friends, magazines, advertisements, packages, the internet, etc)

I love the magazine Quick Cooking, but after taking the magazine for a year and never using one of the recipes, I did not renew. I figured that one year gave me enough recipes to try (especially since I wasn't actually TRYING them - ahem).

5. How do you store those recipes?

I have some recipe software and a cookbook that you write your own recipes in. I also still have a lot of the magazines hanging around waiting to be input into the software.

6. When you cook, do you follow the recipe pretty closely, or do you use recipes primarily to give you ideas?

I follow recipes to the letter, unless they have an item I don't care for. Griff doesn't care for mushrooms, so I might leave those out. I don't like onion, so I usually reduce the amount in the recipe.

7. Is there a particular ethnic style or flavor that predominates in your cooking? If so, what is it?

Lots and lots and lots of Italian (spaghetti, baked ziti, ravioli, etc). Second place would probably be Mexican, but I really prefer to eat that out.

8. What's your favorite kitchen task related to meal planning and preparation? (eating the finished product does not count)

I would have to say that my favorite part is when I use the time to teach my kids how to cook.

9. What's your least favorite part?

Cooking the meat. I don't know why, but I just dread that part.

10. Do you plan menus before you shop?

Nope. I should. I know I should. But I don't.

11. What are your three favorite kitchen tools or appliances?

I love my Kitchenaid mixer, Pampered Chef stones, and my crockpot.

12. If you could buy one new thing for your kitchen, money was no object, and space not an issue, what would you most like to have?

Can I count new kitchen cabinets as one item? Mine are not laid out well and some of the doors are too narrow to fit things through them. Oh, and they are an ugly 70's wood stain.

13. Since money and space probably are objects, what are you most likely to buy next?

Hmmm... Specifically cooking-related - probably new dishes. Mine are chipped and broken. However, the next thing that will change in my kitchen is the floor because the tile is literally cracking beneath our feet.

14. Do you have a separate freezer for storage?

Oh, how I wish! I'd love to have a small separate freezer.

15. Grocery shop alone or with others?

I usually go with my kids, which I don't mind. Occasionally, though, I go by myself and that can be nice.

16. How many meatless main dish meals do you fix in a week?

Hardly any. A meal without meat is not a meal for my husband. It's just not gonna fly.

17. If you have a decorating theme in your kitchen, what is it? Favorite kitchen colors?

I don't have a theme currently, but I definitely want to go the French Country route. As far as colors go, I love a blue and yellow kitchen. Red is good, too. Of course, there's always green, my absolute favorite color... See why I haven't painted my kitchen yet?

18. What's the first thing you ever learned to cook, and how old were you?

I didn't cook much until I was an adult. I think the first thing I learned to make was cinnamon toast (in the oven). I have no idea how old I was. Probably early teenage years.

19. How did you learn to cook?

I picked up a few things from my mom just by watching her, but I'm mostly self-taught.

20. Tag a few other people to play.

If you would like to participate, consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

It's the Little Things That Make My Day

I've made a discovery that has made my on-line surfing time easier. I have been coming across lots and lots of good blogs lately. And, unlike me, these ladies actually update their blogs on an almost-daily basis. (Shock! Can you believe it?!) So, of course, I and my addictive personality were spending way too much time on the computer.

Then, I found it. Actually, Melissa found it and posted about it on her blog. For me, it is the neatest thing since, well, the internet. And best of all, it's free!! What is it? Bloglines.

Now, maybe you're so completely computer savvy you have heard about this long before now and you're thinking, "She's just finding out about THAT?!" But, just case you aren't and you haven't, I wanted to tell you about it.

I have set up an account and subscribed to many of the blogs I read on a regular basis. (The blogs have to have a feed.) Once I go to my account, I get a list and it lets me know if any of them have been updated. I can select them from that list and the posts from the blog show up right alongside my list, not in a separate window. This is great because my computer is old and S-L-O-W, so opening new pages with lots of graphics sometimes take awhile.

Now, I don't get to see all the nifty-neato things at sites, but I still plan on stopping by the real thing occasionally to check out what's new in sidebars and such. (I promise to stop by and see the unveiling of your new look, Sprittibee.) It's a small price to pay for simplifying my computer time.

There are many more things you can do with Bloglines, but I haven't figured them out yet. I'm happy with just my blog list for now.