Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Before I Kick the Bucket List

     Have you ever sat down and thought about what you wanted to accomplish before you kicked the bucket?? Would you like to go skydiving, ride a bull, climb a mountain, love deeper, and try to make peace and forgive those you hadn’t before? Seeing my mom die at the age of 51 and my dad at 65, the ole bucket list has a little more meaning for me because mine includes all the things that the two of them missed out on through no fault of their own. It woke me up to the reality of how precious and short life is. If they hadn’t died so young I probably wouldn’t have had such an insight into this topic and realized that a lot of what is on my own bucket list was on theirs as well. I want to live each day knowing that maybe not today, but maybe tomorrow I can!

        I want to see both my kids grow up, marry, and have kids of their own settled and happy. I want to enjoy the overwhelming happiness of being the mother of the bride and groom. I look forward to gaining another son and daughter on the day of their marriages and welcoming them with open arms into the family. I want to hold each of my grandchildren, cherish them, and spend as much time with them as I can. Ideally I would love to see them grown and married pursuing their own lives with vigor. I want to see all the little things that matter most, and be there for the special moments of their lives from graduations to weddings. I want to be there to celebrate with them and comfort them in their times of sorrow. I want my kids, their significant others, and my grandkids to congregate at my house for good ole fashion family reunions filled with laughter and tons of food at every major holiday. I want them to never doubt for one millisecond how much I truly love them.

     I would like to see a day when all the bills are paid up to date and I still have money in my pocket. Even though I know my bill collectors wouldn’t know how to act if they couldn’t harass me for money, I might just miss telling them when they threaten collection that I’ve been there and done that. It would be a hardship for them not to have the privilege of winning a free bushel of horse $hit for their trouble or the pleasure of me encouraging them to kiss it. I wish a day would come when my husband wouldn’t have to work so hard, and I could spend most of my days at his side. I would give anything if he could be home more and we still would be able to pay bills and enjoy life. That doesn’t figure in very well when you are paid by the mile and you love to drive a semi truck. If that truck isn’t rolling, there is no money to be had.

     I want to be able to explore the world with my little family. If not Europe and the Caribbean, then Disney World and some of the great travel hot spots in the United States. I want to be able to use my camper as a means of lodging while we travel cross country exploring all the beauty I can find. Since I haven’t been anywhere in years, going any place would be welcome. I love to explore!! I want to make memories with my husband and kids that I can cherish for the rest of my life and document in pictures.

     Most of all I want to live a life filled with laughter. Instead of my cup running over with sadness, I prefer overflowing with happiness. I would accept the daily challenge to find the blessings in each day and be thankful for each one no matter how small and insignificant. A big one on my bucket list is to know deep in my heart when I do die that my family know without a doubt how much I cherished each of them and enjoyed the wild ride of life at their side. That is all I have to say until next time when I give you another glimpse into the life of a trucker’s wife.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Jingle Bells and Candy Canes

Hindsight 20/20-BFF 144

     While I was growing up my mom would often tell me when things didn’t go my way (which seemed to be more times than not), that everything happens for a reason. It may not be for us to understand now, but down the line the “why” would become clear. The answers I sought wouldn’t reveal themselves in my time, but in G0ds and oftentimes out of every catastrophe knowledge would be gained. I have found this to be very true and when things are going south, I now find solace in the “big picture” knowing that whatever trial I am facing will result in a lesson well learned in the future. There is a reason for everything. When I am ready to be open to the answers I seek, they will be revealed. Even though I try to be optimistic and let go and let G0d, I get impatient and depressed with the cruelty of fate just like everyone else.

     Throughout life we all make choices. Sometimes they aren’t the best choices, but we rush forward anyways completely oblivious. You don’t realize that it is the wrong choice until after it is too late. Friends and relatives will try to beat sense into our noggins only to be rebuffed. Then hindsight sneaks up and takes a juicy bite out of you’re a$$, and you learn from it whether you want to or not. Somehow, someway you learn, and the next time around hopefully turns out a lot better. You make better choices and become more in tune with who you are, what you need, and what you want in life to finally grasp the brass ring of happiness.

   Most of us go through life frantically looking for the fairytale to the point we ignore what should have been obvious. You want the happy ever after so badly, you are willing to settle for the first a$$ or option that comes along no matter what your gut instinct tells you. I ignored my ex-husband’s drinking problem, I ignored the drugs, and believed like a complete idiot that once I was married that all that would change and life would be perfect. Even as the first bars of the wedding march began to play, I knew I was making a big mistake. I went right on ahead anyways not having the backbone at the time to run back up the aisle until I seen daylight. People do it all the time. I just didn’t have the balls. I believed in happily ever after in all circumstances.

     Sometimes you want something so badly that you rush into something and by rushing you end up royally screwed and with nothing. Like the house we tried to have built, we didn’t realize at the time we would have been a lot better off renting a house with the land we needed, or even attempting to buy it. No one could tell us different. The contractor in charge of the details filed bankruptcy and we got a royal screwing that left our credit shattered. You can bet, we learned from that mistake and ended up right where we should have all along.

     In hindsight, everything becomes crystal clear and eventually we all end up on the paths we were meant to travel on. We learn the hard way, one way or another, that things are just as they should be for better or for worse. With that said, in hindsight…our outlook becomes 20/20 and our vision for the present and the future becomes a little clearer. Until next time when I give you another glimpse into the life of a trucker’s wife.

Tasty Tuesday: German Chocolate-Coconut Pie

1 9 inch unbaked piecrust
1 (4 ounce) bar sweet baking chocolate
2 TBSP butter or margarine
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
½ cup hot water
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
½ cup pecans
½ cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prick piecrust in several places with a fork. Bake until crust is firm and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Let cool.

Combine chocolate and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted (about 3 minutes.)

Combine chocolate mixture and condensed mile in a large bowl. Add eggs, water, vanilla, and salt.

Pour mixture into piecrust. Sprinkle with pecans and coconut. Bake until slightly set, about 45 minutes. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours before slicing for best results. Bon Appetit’!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Crocheting: My Not So Secret Passion!

      Crocheting has become a passion that I have carried with me all the days of my life. I love yarn, and the fact that a simple ball of the stuff can create something extraordinary with a little effort.

     Warm weather draws a person outside…but cool weather finds me wanting to crochet!! Because of this urge, I made a trip to the store as soon as the winds blew colder and picked out some vibrant colors to use to construct an afghan. I was drawn to the purples and lavenders!! I rushed home and dove into my collection of pattern books searching for an afghan that would prove challenging enough to hold my interest and in the end be beautiful to behold. I wanted to try a pattern I had never done before and went with a striped pattern that featured Catherine wheels throughout. I can honestly say there is nothing I love better than crocheting while I watch television or a good movie!! When I first met my husband he was floored that I could crochet, as he had never met anyone under 80 that knew how. He must have lived a sheltered life because I taught myself to crochet when I was about 10.

     This last summer I taught my daughter how to crochet and she proudly won a blue ribbon at the local 4H fair for her creation. It didn’t take long for the crochet bug to bite her!! Before I had barely finished my first row she was begging for me to go buy her a ball of yarn so she could crochet too. Like me, she loves the variegated patterns and chose one peppered with white, purple, and pale blue. I set her to work making a Granny Square. I suggested she continue until she used up the yarn, and then get another ball of a different pattern or color to make a new square. Eventually, she could crochet her squares together and have a nice sized blanket for her bed. A bonus is that she could eventually enter her afghan into the fair if she wanted.

     It has become a tradition in my family to crochet. My mom did it, then I taught myself, and then I taught my daughter. A relaxing and rewarding hobby, when all is said and done you have a heirloom that will be treasured always. It has become the not so secret passion that I will carry with me all the days of my life. Until next time when I give you another glimpse into the life of a trucker’s wife.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Learning to Be Thankful- BFF 134

    This Thanksgiving I am so thankful for the things I have in my life.  I choose not to agonize over the things I don’t.  It would be so easy to lose myself in the depths of despair over the fact that my parents are no longer alive to celebrate with or that money is in short supply.  I may not have all I want, but I have all I need.

      It seems life is never easy, but I get G0d’s purpose for life’s struggles.   He wants us to depend on Him for strength, be thankful to Him for all blessings no matter how small, and value the priceless things in life that can never be replaced.  Therefore I am thankful that unlike last year, my husband will be home for Thanksgiving.  I am thankful everyday for the companionship and devotion of my children who march through life at my side.  I am thankful that except for a cold, my family is healthy.  I am thankful for a car that runs, a roof over my head, and my dear sweet pets who snuggle against me to keep me warm at night. 

      I am thankful for the wonderful parents I was blessed to have, and even though they are no longer here I am thankful for the precious memories I have of them.   I am thankful that G0d blessed me with the ability to cook and magically create a delicious meal.  Even though it would be great to have the newest shiniest SUV to drive, I am thankful I don’t have the hefty payment that would go with it!  I am thankful for my blazer and the fact that is paid for.  I am thankful for the kind neighbors that have befriended me on both sides making me feel less alone.  I am thankful for dear friends, precious memories, and the promise of tomorrow with no mistakes.

      I am thankful for the outlet to express myself on this website and those precious folks that read my words, watch the music videos, and in doing so gaze directly into the depths of my soul.  I am thankful for the feedback I receive from my readers through their comments.  I am deeply thankful for all the friends it has brought my way.  Mostly I am thankful to have learned the valuable skill of taking life one day at a time, and learning to laugh, even through my tears.  Until next time when I give you another glimpse into the life of a trucker’s wife.

Wordless Wednesday: Bring on the Turkey!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Cheddar Potato Casserole

    Soon it will be Thanksgiving, and I am already planning what will be on the dinner table at my house.  Mashed potatoes are a staple for any holiday table and there is not tastier recipe for mashed potatoes than this one.  It is a firm favorite at my house and is often requested whether it is Thanksgiving or not.

4-6  large baking potatoes, peeled  
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tomato, thinly sliced
2 TBSP chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coarsely chop the potatoes.  Place in a medium saucepan, add enough water to cover.  Cook over medium high heat until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain and mash in saucepan.   If you choose to take the shortcut, prepare the instant mashed potatoes according to package directions.

Add cream cheese and sour cream to saucepan.  Whip potatoes with a wire whisk until well mixed.  Mix in onion salt, garlic salt, and pepper.

Spoon potato mixture into a baking dish.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes.

For a festive touch, arrange tomato slices on top of casserole and then sprinkle with chives.  Bake for 5 minutes longer.

Bon Appetit' and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Love to Laugh!!

     When I was younger, I was quiet, somewhat shy, and very serious.  I didn’t reveal my true personality to many people.  I bottled myself up inside.  Then I went through a season of tears which made me even more introverted.   

      As I got older something changed.  I snapped.  All of a sudden, not only was I a lot more outgoing, but the giggles that had been suppressed for so long seemed to explode from my person.  I discovered a very revealing truth.  I would rather laugh than cry.  For starters, laughing is a hell of a lot more fun, and second…too much boo flipping hooing is not only depressing but it tends to give you a snot nose for the rest of the day.  Who wants that??  After a while, I decided I didn’t.  I no longer wanted to sweat the small stuff.  I am having an uphill battle trying to instill that into my kids.  Don’t sweat the small stuff. Only get worked up over the big stuff.  I mean really, did anyone die??  I found out first hand when my parents died that of all moments in life…that was a good moment to cry your eyes out.  

        The older I get, the funnier I get. People say I am funny even when I am not trying to be funny.  I tend to get the giggles.  I laugh my happy  a$$ off over things that leave other people scratching their heads and wondering.  Well hells bells, isn’t that a lot more fun??  Laugh and the world laughs with you.  They can’t help it, because laughter is contagious.  Cry, bitch, and moan, and you are on your own.  Sad but true.  Of course, there may be those chosen few that will be your shoulder to cry on and your punching bag, but after a while…they will avoid you.  They will get sick of it and be down the road so fast it will make your head swim.

      I choose to laugh, and have become pretty good at finding the humor in just about everything.   I pride myself in being loonier than a toon and one sandwich short of a picnic.  Granted, I do have some semblance of a social feeler.  I can sense who would handle one of my outlandish comments, and who would be wondering why.  It is a gift.  Still sometimes I just don’t give a flying fig and tell it like it is.  In the wake of shock that follows one of my outbursts, I explain it off to the fact that I am pre-menopausal.  Then I get a case of the giggles that is infectious.  If you get me on the phone, well then the social feelers go right out the window and I am at my most outrageous. G0d help the bill collectors and telemarketers that dare to call my house!  Most of them walk away winning a free bushel of horse $hit. Yes, I do pass out those to random people who have the audacity to call me on the phone.

       Anymore, I laugh at just about anything.  If someone startles me, I laugh.  If I see something that strikes me funny, I laugh.  Laughing is good for what ails you!  My dad always used to get really pious and say “Quakers meeting has begun, no more laughing, no more fun, no more chewing gum” and instead of catching the pious bug and acting all straight laced and  uptight like I was supposed to, I would bust a gut.  I simply couldn’t help myself.  It isn’t just what people say, it is the way they say it, or the expression on their face that gets me.  I have also discovered mooning people tends to break up the seriousness of the situation.  Use with extreme caution!!  I only pull that at home, and discriminate who gets that pleasure.  Some folks just wouldn't understand...and most can't handle a little a$$.  After seeing some kids show their shiny moon out of a school bus window, I have been inspired ever since. Laughed so hard I almost wrecked my car that time. 

       I believe I inherited this trait of hilarity from my Dad. That man was hilarious!!  He would come off with the craziest things.  For example, after he had a stroke he was in the hospital and the nurse came into his room and told him she would be taking him for his bath.  My dad gazed up at her with a half smile and read her name tag which said Eileen.  He said to her “Is that your name?”  She smile and replied “Why yes! It is!”  My dad says “If I lean over will you kiss my a$$?”  There was a space of about 5 seconds of silence when she and I looked at him in shocked disbelief.  My jaw dropped, and I just lost it.  I couldn’t help myself, and the laughter was contagious. The nurse claimed no one had ever said anything like that to her before.  I laughed so hard I almost choked on myself and peed my pants!  

     Anyways you get the picture.  Laughter is as uncontrollable to me as breathing. I just got to!  Like Uncle Albert in the classic Disney movie “Mary Poppins”,  I love to laugh and if a person could really float to the ceiling from to much laughter, I would spend the better share of my life laughing myself silly on the ceiling.  We should all be so happy. Try laughing, it is good for what ails you!   Until next time when I give you another glimpse into the life of a trucker’s wife.

Through the Eyes of the Turkey

     Have you ever considered what a turkey may be thinking in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, especially if he or she happens still to be alive to gobble about it??  I mean hells bells, imagine the horror stories that circulate around the turkey pen about the holiday where most everyone else is counting their blessings.

      How do turkeys mentally prepare for the inevitable?  A person with any kind of religious belief at all has a much more pleasant idea of the here after than a turkey.  Wouldn’t it be a little disturbing to know that one day someone is going to chop your head off, stuff a concoction of bread crumbs up your a$$, roast you in an oven for several hours, and then take great pleasure in devouring your carcass??  Holy hell.   I think I would be scared $hitless of the inevitable.  I would be trying to hide out,  go on strike waving signs that say “Discover the Joys of Beef!” , “Eat Chicken”, or “Eat Pork”, or jumping the nearest flight to a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving.  

       If nothing else, I can be thankful that I am not a turkey and I can look forward to a much better eternity than ending up being flushed down the toilet.  Just saying, even though I am looking forward to my Thanksgiving turkey as much as everyone else I am sure thankful I am not a turkey!! Until next time when I give you another glimpse into a trucker’s wife. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What Would Be On the Menu for Your Last Supper??

       If today was my last day, and I knew the next meal I ate would be my last, I would have to go out with a bang and stuff myself to the gills!!   To get the party started, I would begin my last meal sipping a tantalizing Sex on the Beach.    For an appetizer, there would be bruschetta bread and a blooming onion blossom with the spicy sauce.  I couldn’t resist a few pieces of cheese and a few deviled eggs.  

        Next I would hit a salad bar the size of an elephants a$$ and load my plate with all my favorite salad goodies.  Fresh iceberg lettuce topped with tomatoes, onions, peas, shredded cheese, ham, bacon bits, croutons, and smothered with French dressing.

       For the main course, I would have to have a thick juicy steak slathered with onions and mushrooms, a loaded baked potato,  a side of brussel sprouts, and a side of grilled shrimp.  There would also be a big pile of French dressing on the side to dip my steak in.

        I rarely eat dessert, but given this is my last meal, I would have to indulge in a large ice cream sundae smothered with strawberries, nuts, and topped with whipped cream and a cherry.  When everything had been eaten, the piece ala resistance would be presented…someone else to pay the bill!!  Then with a belch loud enough to rattle the rafters I would bid the world adieu and promptly blow up like George Pig from my favorite childhood story, never to be seen or heard from again.  In the end, you just got to love food!!! Until next time when I give you another glimpse into the life of a trucker’s wife.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Recollections of First Thanksgivings - BFF 142

     Some of my earliest recollections from Thanksgivings past included not just one huge meal, but several.  Not only did my mother make a huge spread, but I also had three sets of Grandparents to share Thanksgiving with.   Usually, we would have a meal  at home that my mother prepared on Thanksgiving day.  Then we would travel to each of the grandparent’s homes Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Turkey, turkey, and even more turkey!!  By the end of it,  you came close to growing feathers and saying “Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!”

        Although I have memories of attending the Thanksgiving festivities of all three sets of Grandparents, my dad’s parent’s celebration always stood out.  For one thing, there were always a lot more people.  I had 5 sets of aunts and uncles at that gathering plus a slew of cousins, with second cousins coming along later on.  

         On holidays long tables were set up end to end down the center of the living room into the master bedroom with chairs lined up on both sides dominating Grandma‘s farmhouse.  Grandma sat on one end of the long table, and Grandpa on the other.   Behind Grandpa there was always another table set up in the master bedroom and all the cousins fought to get to sit alone in the bedroom in that special place of distinction. 
       The table was set with Grandma’s  best tablecloths, red and clear glass plates,  silverware, and water goblets.  When it was time, we would all gather around that massive table and joined hands much like the Who’s down in  Whoville singing “Count Your Blessings”.   Then Grandpa would lead us all in prayer.  Grandpa always mumbled when he prayed and he was so far away that usually I couldn’t make out what he was saying.  Somehow you would figure out when he was finished by the loud proclamation of “Amen!!  and then we would go single file, out the front door, through the garage, into the kitchen where all the wonderful food awaited.   Usually it was always colder than a witches tit in the Klondike outside, and by the time you got back into the house, the heat from the kitchen steamed up your glasses so you couldn’t see three inches in front of your face.

         Since I was the youngest, I was always finished eating before anyone else and antsy to get up and run around with my cousin.  The only problem with that is that with all the tables and chairs, you couldn’t squeeze a mouse fart out once you were seated.  We got around that too by having a merry ole time crawling under the network of tables to wherever we wanted to go.

     When everyone was finally finished eating, the women retreated into the kitchen to wash dishes and the men set to work taking down the tables.  In their place, a few card tables were erected and quite a few rousing games of Euchre and Yahtzee were played.  Sometimes Grandpa would dig out his home movies and the whole family would gather in the living room to watch.  Other times, everyone would just visit.

       It always amazed me that no matter how many grand kids there were, and there were a G0d’s plenty, Grandma and Grandpa would always give us hugs and kisses when we arrived and when it was time to go home.  They had so much love for each and every one of us and instilled in me the importance of family, thankfulness of blessings, G0d, and faith.

       Sadly those long lost Thanksgivings are only a memory as many of the key players have passed on from this life.  Their smiles and laughter will never be forgotten, and I can still hear the family singing “Count Your Blessings” in my mind.  I can only hope that I can instill the same sense of family, love, and tradition in my own children.  Until next time when I give you another glimpse into the life of a truckers wife.