Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Addiction Recovery Program

Sick again today. Sick so much... so much more than I'd like. I'm not myself. No creativity, no love vibes reaching out to others, no craziness (the good kind). General low energy, dark circles, "not really here" kind of illness. I know what to blame it on. Sugar is poison to my body. I know this, so why did I have 4 Rice Krispie treats, 1 chocolate soda, and 1 doughnut today? No doubt about it, I choose this illness. I deliberately put each item in my mouth... I even had to make 2 of them. No one forced them down my throat.

A few weeks ago, I chatted with a friend who was having a difficult time sticking to her diet. "I've turned it over to the Lord." She said. "I told him if he would just make me pause before the bite went in my mouth, I would have the mastery to put it down." Hmmm. Would this work for me I wondered? After I hung up the phone, I asked my Heavenly Father if he really cared about sugar and me. I mean, really, how foolish... why would he care about my sweet fix? The answer I got immediately shocked me to the core.

"Of course I care about your eating and sugar. I have a work for you to do. When "under the influence," you are not able to do and be what I have in mind for you. Your energy is too low and your personality fades. I have a work waiting for you - when you learn to exercise self control over your body so you can do all I have in store for you."

Well then. I guess if he cares, he is willing to help me as I seek help with my sugar "addiction". Though it sounds silly, I just got out my 12 steps program, printed for alcoholics, drug addicts, porn addicts, and gambling addicts.
I have used this to help the beautiful women at the House of Hope. Can it help me?

  1. Honesty: Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.
  2. Hope: Come to believe that the power of God can restore you to complete spiritual health.
  3. Trust in God: Decide to turn your WILL and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Already sounds promising. Listen to some of these quotes,

"I am
encompassed about, because of the temptations ... which do so easily beset me, nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted."-2 Nephi 4 18-21

my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul..."-Enos 1:4

"Blessed are they which do
hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" -Matthew 5:6

"Let us . . . come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find
grace to help in time of need" -Hebrews 4:16

and finally,

"They were in
captivity, and again the Lord did deliver them out of bondage by the power of his word." -Alma 5:5

These scriptures are really speaking to me. Today. About this problem. About the solution. I am now certain of the direction to take. My eating habits are really a spiritual problem, with a physical manifestation. I can't wait to add the 12 step program to my Carb/Sugar detox program. Won't my Drug Recovery Women be so proud of me!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mom Sucess

There are days when it is really great to be a mom. Days when it is exciting to help children discover why baby fish swim in the shallows, why goslings are born in the spring, and why socks are required gear for long walks.

-Days to model friendship as I stroll with Charolette and witness friendship as I walk behind a jacket shared between rivals.

-Days where we drink in the beauty of the world together and exclaim over the artistry of a single tulip or daffodil, where we run, discover and enjoy together.

Let others spend their money on boats and toys. I enjoy them, but I NEED beauty and I NEED simple days like this as a mother.

...Days where the projects waiting at home smell like fresh herbs and the nurturing that is food.

-Days when the art lesson on Middle Eastern mosaics turns into a cooperative experience.

We need days where the adventure doesn't stop at dinner time, where the smallest change of location changes dinner into magic. (detailed on the dinner blog)

We need days to train Little Women in womanly arts and hygiene, to physically show our love by pampering their little hands and feet, to minister to little bodies, and giggle over space man eyes.

I love those days when at the end of the day, the girls say, "Mom, thank you. This was the best day ever!"

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Love Tokens

Three sobbing little girls are now comforted. We stood on the front porch and gave Briz the family wave goodbye, then they all broke down. "Is he in El Salvador yet?" No. He's probably at the stop light."

After a song and prayer, Sunshine slyly said, "I stuck my favorite necklace in his suitcase. Now he'll miss me and won't forget me."

"I put in my favorite bracelet and some of his favorite Cadburry eggs with a note." Chimed Little Mother.

"Oh! I did too! I put in some of my Easter candy." Ladybug added.

We all felt better after sharing. I finally admitted that I too had stuck a note in his laptop with my favorite See's candy bar I've been hoarding. I guess he'll be fine on treats.

I hope no one goes through his luggage and wonders why such a tough guy carries jewelry and various loose candies rolling through his belongings.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hormon's Great Adventure

I am transcribing a book for one of my favorite authors entitled, Hormon's Great Adventure. You will never see it on your bookstore shelves, but it a masterpiece nonetheless. It is written by an Aspie (one with Aspergers) I love with every learning disability and thus is a treasure to me.

It is the most difficult transcription I have ever done because though the handwriting is neat, all the words are all spelled phonetically. For example: "jiyint" is giant, "fiet" is fight, "haos"is house, lokt is looked, voes is voice etc. Ladybug has been working on this book during her recesses and at night before bed. She has created illustrations and 12 chapters.

Reading causes great trauma and books are an evil to be avoided at all costs. For this reason, my free time today is spent helping this creation come to life for my little one. I can't wait for her to see her finished product, the result of many afternoons of focused effort on her part. And really, it is quite a fascinating story. What an imagination that little one has. I am grateful to find a way to get into her little head for an hour or two.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dreams of a Bluebird Chocolate Soda

Briz and I attended a university located in the quaint mountain-top town I grew up in. When pressures mounted and we felt drab and ho-hum, we counted our change and went to the Bluebird.

For our type of fix, we sat at the long mirrored marble bar, lined with covered glass tiers of pies, cakes and other delicacies. Behind us was the chocolate display where bins of hand dipped chocolates and confections were displayed for purchase. Seated on twisty bar stools , we watched as the soda fountain attendant mixed our Chocolate Sodas.

After the whipped cream was squirted on and the cherry placed on top, I'd sip and dream. In a place like this, it is easy to imagine oneself in a poodle skirt with a high pony tail. I'd look over and flirt a little with my husband, imagining that we were on a first high school date or meeting after the big game. While I was at it, I imagined my parents, who were high school sweethearts, sitting at this same bar, in this same town, drinking my beloved sodas. The Bluebird was around when my grandparents dated so I imagined them as well. My soda always disappeared too quickly, and we were too poor to buy another. I suppose it was just as well because the soda remained special.

I just lay with Sunshine till I heard the sucking of her finger subside. Delirious with excitement, I tiptoed downstairs to have a few moments of peace and maybe a dream or two.
With my soda, I sat on my porch with a bit of reading inspiration. Nostalgia and happy dreams of hope and youth once again filled my head. Here is the recipe as I watched them make it.

Bluebird Chocolate Soda
2-3 Tbs chocolate syrup
vanilla ice cream
1 1/4 cup seltzer water
3 Tbs. milk
Squirt of fresh lemon juice (optional: I add but never saw the Bluebird do this.)

In a tall glass mix chocolate syrup, 1 miniature scoop of ice cream, and the milk.
Pour seltzer water down the side of the glass until 2 inches from the top. Plop a large scoop of ice cream or maybe more if you want it into the soda. A squirt of whipped cream and a cherry make it the to die for!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Good Morning!!!

The dark gray sky tickled my mind and brought me to consciousness. Pyewackit leaped on my bed and began kneading my feet to wake me up. Soon, my feet met the pavement and I began my 4 plus mile training run.

The silence of the early morning run was broken only by the songbirds welcoming morning. The horses watched my progress with calm interest as they grazed, ducks startled, and woodchucks ran to warn their neighbors. To the background of my shoes hitting the pavement, I composed my breathing pattern. In two, three, four, Out two. In two three four...

I only passed 2 other runners. We smiled at each other with the knowledge that we were sharing the morning run together. Toward the end of the run, as I jogged down the hill, the sun burst over the mountains, blinding me and covering me with its warmth.

It seemed to be a silent benediction, affirming my work. The final stretch.... I see my house. I am done now. How about I stop running? My knee hurts. No. My mind controls this body, not the other way around.

Somewhere during my training, I have lost sight of the scales and think only of exercising my will power over my body. My excitement over doing something that never seemed possible for me is motivation enough. Somehow, I think this self discipline might come in handy.

I return to the castle, tousled and red faced. Ladybug has taken the garbage out and is eating breakfast. The hot water of my shower is a blessed refreshment and comfort. I treat myself to sugar scrub. The smell makes me happy. 8:25, I am out the door with Ladybug and ready for my day. Good Morning Everyone!!!

Brown Sugar Vanilla Scrub
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
4-6 T olive oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Monday, April 20, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

It is Random Acts of Kindness Day at the castle. We loaded the Pilot with little girls and supplies and drove off looking for any random need that caught our attention.

We found many dirty windshields at the grocery store and gas station. One Tahoe full of college girls felt they had to reciprocate the random act of kindness and left a dollar on the ground when we wouldn't take it. The cashier at the Maverick's offered us all ICE Es. To the girl's dismay, I refused.

Upon entering our neighborhood, the girls were so infused with the spirit of service, they hopped out and made their way back to the house leaving little acts of kindness behind them. Full of plans for future RAKs, they raved about the Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle and decided it needed a new name, "The Best Cake Ever." I think they were under the influence of the sweet taste of service.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring Pursuits

Spring, glorious spring! When she comes, I cannot get enough of her. With swarms of others, I succumbed to the lure of early annual sales. We jostled around the flats, filling our Costco carts quickly and jealously. Never mind that it is still 4 weeks before it is considered safe to plant. We want flowers, we want color, and we want them now! I justify this early purchase by telling myself that I could spend $40 in many ways that would not bring me as much joy as digging in the dirt and lighting up a corner of my castle.

We BBQ'd Nathan's kosher hot dogs. So tasty! The best hot dog I've ever had.
We walked, took and blanket and slept in the park, and had a fun springy picnic getting to know our neighborhood better.
The girls temperament seemed to improve with the radiation. They held hands, marching and chanting HA, HA, HA, HA. They twirled and skipped in the sunshine. Little Mother fell in the irrigation ditch and covered herself in cow manure. Yippee! I feel such excitement!

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Best Discipline Tool

Some years ago, I puffed on the eliptical next to Melanie as we discussed the joys and frustrations of Momhood. I was particularly frustrated with one of my angels with whom everything seemed to be going wrong. "When was the last time you went out just the two of you?" she asked. "Man, its been a while mainly because SHE DOES NOT DESERVE IT. I can't reward that type of behavior." I replied. Wise Melanie insisted. "Try it. You have nothing to lose. I will take the other two today. You need to go."

I came back that afternoon with a different child. The 1 1/2 hours of individual time accomplished what time outs, consequences, pleading, and yelling could not. I had a bright eyed, eager to respond, helpful, thoughtful little girl. Instead of wanting to throttle her sisters, she wanted to bring them something. Her love cup was full enough to spill over to her sisters.

This is our miracle cure. Our consequences and other parenting tools become 10 times as effective when our sweeties are caught up on their "special nights." I have come to find that usually when they deserve it least, they need it the most.

Tonight, I put three very happy, loving little girls to bed. After prayer as I tucked them into bed I felt the love cups bubbling over. One bubbled over with plans for new paintings and sang me a song about how much she loved her mom. The other threw her arms around me, held me close and kissed my nose. I whispered, "Thai salad dressing really does taste like hairspray." Then we giggled at our private joke as I shut the door.

One chose a Thai restaurant for lunch. While waiting for our spring rolls and hot and sour soup, we located Thailand on a map, examined Thai characters, than perused the restaurant and discussed everything we saw. Buddhist monks, strange new fruits and vegetables, traditional Thai masks, basket weavers, and rice farmers all merited discussion. We sat close so we wouldn't spill as we shared our orders. We agreed that the fresh spring rolls were really sub par with skimpy shrimp and the worst dipping sauce we'd tried. We loved the hot and sour soup and filled it with sticky rice. The BBQ pork was fantastic but the Piece De Resistance was the salad slathered in what Little Mother called a hairspray tasting dressing. The waitress hoped to treat us and brought us an imported jelly. Little Mother literally gagged. I swallowed it as quickly as I could and filled my mouth with mints once we reached the car.

Our outing continued to a doll store where we giggled and oohed and aahed over every amazing piece of doll paraphernalia known to man. After much discussion we determined that: it is always nice to have a fresh clean pair of panties, dirty socks make the vilest smell, and who doesn't need a pair of runners to stay in shape? After consulting her pocket book, Little Mother purchased the above items for her favorite 18 inch companion. Our outing finished with a trip to our favorite tea shop for a Bubble Tea.

Dinner with my other sweetie was Pumpkin Coconut Soup, which I am going to try to duplicate and a Crab Panini. "You must be really hungry." I said as she snarfed down almost twice as much as I did. "I'm just so excited!" She replied.

We then had the sweetest experience in the art gallery. We held hands as she excitedly pulled me from painting to painting, each more compelling than the next. "How did they paint this one? Why are there people in the net with the fish?" Looking at art always fulfills me, but never so much as today. Accompanied by another art lover tripled my enjoyment. I wept as I told her the story of the crossing of the Sweetwater and as I explained the background behind James Christensen's newer works. She squeezed my hand even tighter to say she understood.

As before, our outing ended at my favorite tea shop for a Bubble Tea... probably the best deserty drink known to this little lady.

Discipline accomplished. After all, what is discipline? My Webster says the word is derived from disciple, n.: one who receives the teaching of another -and- discipline, n.: mental or moral training. Tonight my angels are definitely ready to receive my teachings and I think we accomplished quite a bit of metal and moral training.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Have a Dream

I have a dream... many in fact. But I am old, my time for dreams has passed. I am a frumpy housewife who knows where my efforts are most needed. Even if I did find the time, I am afraid. I fear people will fault my efforts, or criticize my less than perfect performance. I fear to open myself up only to be torn down.

For all those who have a dream, who think life has passed them by, who feel it may be too late to live their passion, you must meet Susan Boyle.

For those of us who tend to judge based on appearances, on age, style or fashion, witness Susan Boyle.

Susan is forty seven years old, dowdy, unemployed, never-been-kissed, and lives alone with her cat Pebbles. Yet with thousands mocking and jeering, she stands up and tries to reach her dream.

Click on this link - take 3 minutes and witness something that I hope will cause you to think differently about your dreams and talents.

My first thought is that somehow our society looks on the outside to judge a person. We are looking for the supermodel to find value. Is that really where value is found?

I wonder... why must we judge at all? Why must we criticize? If someone is horrible why must we roll our eyes? Why do we point it out to others? Do we think they might miss it, or do we fear we will appear stupid and foolish if we don't show that we see other's weaknesses?

My love dare today was to not say one critical thing to my sweetheart.

So far I have succeeded with my spouse but I have failed miserably with my little women. "Those teeth look furry and scummy. Have you washed that face? You are the laziest kid! You have missed 5 words, 5 words and you didn't read the instructions. Can't you read?"

It looks even worse when I write it. I didn't realize what I was doing until I heard Little Mother get frustrated with Sunshine and instead of dealing with the issue she tore her down. "Stop picking your nose. That is gross. Your hair looks like a rat's nest."

Yep. I hear myself. Couldn't I just pick up a warm washcloth and with a smile say, "Here is a washcloth for that beautiful face." or simply notice the good and when the teeth get brushed go nuts with happy thoughts over the shiny shark's teeth?

Luckily, I give myself a week to master each love dare challenge. Today, I decided to enlarge my challenge to cover my children as well. I want my children to be like Susan Boyle... ready to face the world, content in themselves, not like me... hiding from others so they won't knock my scummy teeth.

With those around me, I want to be like Susan's blond judge. I want to give others a chance, wait before condemning, and show love and consideration. And while we are at it, what is your dream? What are you afraid of?

Lucious Lemonade

While in California, my darling brother Mychal picked a box of lemons for me from off his tree. I carried the precious cargo home determined to satiate my craving for fresh lemonade. Now, though always a lemonade lover, my many trips to Mexico have shown me that there is a superior way to make it. Someone on line has to know how.

I set to work trying various recipes. The one from Martha Stewart sounded the most promising as it was the most complicated. I figured that it must take a lot of work to make lemonade so amazing. It called for roasting sugared lemons for an hour and adding a bit of vanilla. Ooooh. How can anything with vanilla be bad? WRONG! Disgusting! Now I know how they make those horrible expensive bottled bitter sparkling lemonades I have purchased in search of my lemonade fix. Note, not even my children would drink it for lunch.

So, on to round 2 and then round 3. Finally in desperation, I tried one of the simplest recipes I could find. SUCCESS! O.K., not total Mexican perfection, but pretty darn close. Fresh tasting, tart, not too sweet, and sparkly. I used club soda though the bar tender in Mexico told me he used mineral water. I'll try that next time. Floating strawberries in it made it Sooo much better. I am happy. I just wish I had a lemon tree so I could" do the twist" more often.

Sparkling Lemonade

Serves 6-8




  1. In a large pitcher, combine cold water, lemon juice and sugar, stir until sugar dissolves.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  3. Just before serving, gradually add soda water down edge of pitcher, stir to mix.
  4. Garnish.
  5. Pour lemonade over ice cubes in glasses.
  6. Garnish each serving with lemon slices and mint sprig or fresh berries.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

laughing with my sistas

Our last single baby sister's last night as a single! "What did all my girls do?" asked Grandpa.

"We just played silly games and ate snacks."
Perhaps I should have said, "My sistas made me laugh inside and out. For a little while we forgot our sedate responsibilities and remembered silly things. We forgot that our baby was getting married, we forgot that the rest of us had children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Did my dad want to hear, "my sister-in-law's revealed their fun true selves to me for the first time and I loved who they are?"

When I am old, I want to remember Isabel's embarrassment over butt cheeks, Annette vacuuming while looking in every mirror, Elisabeth's rendition of an idiot, Julie and I leaving the embarrassing van at an intersection to hide behind trees on a college campus, Ivy throwing cheese balls at me on Elisabeth's new sofas, Grandma getting her head stuck between the bars at a movie theater, and Jenafur laughing and laughing. In fact, when I am old, perhaps 70 or 80, I hope I get together with my sistas and throw cheese, and make faces, and giggle like monkeys.
We are all an adverb. Can you guess which one? And yes. I am trying to bite Ivy's toes. It's been a weakness with my sisters for a long time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Your move

Little Mother was missing from the castle for 3 weeks. The house was quieter without her bee-bopping around. Elaborate sets of dolls, tea parties, and dress ups did not pop out all over the house for me to clean up. Sunshine was lonely during the day with just me for company. In short, we really missed Little Mother. Toward the end of her visit, I longed for her so much, I hurt in my stomach.

But, there is always a benefit to shaking things up and moving the players. When entertaining, I love to mix different people in different ways. I see a new side of Chris when he leaps around like a silly frog fishing, or find that Michelle has deep thoughts when paired with a more serious crowd.

In my extended family, I love to break up the mix and be with people individually, or in small groups. We interact differently and build relationships better than in the crowd.
Ladybug and Sunshine have never had the opportunity to spend so much time together because Little Mother is always mothering. Ladybug jumped on the chance. She doctored every wound, taught new skills, and held Sunshine for every cry. The two prepared shows for me, had slumber parties, and even did their work together. Their relationship blossomed.
Sometimes, if you rearrange the pieces, another player can make a winning move.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Aspen Crisper

If you are wandering through central California, you might just see a number of long chicken barns popping out of the sea of grapes. If you do, you are near Aspen Crisper.

Aspen Crisper is a magical town, a cross between Terabithia and Roxaboxen, where children can be dusty, where objects long in disuse become useful again. It is a community untouched by economic crisis, where money is never an object, where you can go back and forth to it's two ice cream parlors and try every flavor and never get sick.

Residents care deeply about living things and have a special station for caring for the numerous creatures that venture into Aspen Crisper. Toads, 6 gophers, lizards, and injured chickens all are washed, fed and given homes here.
Here, education is prized and there is a school for all ages complete with a state of the art playground.

All with an imagination are welcome here and the local industry, a factory which produces houses, chairs, and carpets churns out new dwellings for all newcomers. The town is lined with stores. Walmart, Harmons, a music, car, and tractor store all do a brisk business. To beautify the surrounding countryside, a nursery sells plants. All residents work where they want and when they want. All share the profits from the society which are used to buy more ice cream.
If you happen to venture on this idyllic town, I'll share the secret password. It is "Crisper!" said in an excited whisper. It is worth a visit. In this town, children make good citizens, mayors, builders, and caretakers of their resources. Zion perhaps?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lit Bit's post on Seals

My sister Elisabeth posted such a lovely post on our Weaner party, I just copied it. The only thing I would add is my highlight... petting the seal I lay by. He wouldn't wake up!!! It was so much fun.

The tide was out and so we drove a little ways down the coast to find the perfect spot. Ivy wanted to rescue the poor little crab but the starfish wouldn't let go. Camilla loved exploring and being outdoors especially spending time with Nana.

If you step on these guys in your barefeet they squich water at you and suck in awful feeling. They were all over the place among the corral and crabs and clams and plant life.
Wow right where we needed to walk...

To be honest I was a little scared. Mom aka Nana took Cami as I snapped fotos and tried not to wake them.
Midodi was brave. She then petted the seal. So I got a little braver. What sound sleepers- we pet their smooth fuzz. (Notice we picked a very little one) Don't do this part- We really should leave them alone. For our safety and theirs.By the time Russ came over he woke up Don't bug me I'm sleeping.

Loads of fun with my shoes around my neck (didn't keep them dry though) and my pants rolled up.

Elephant Seal vista point near San Simeon and Hearst Castle- I've driven by many times but never stopped. We went with Cami's cousins, aunts, uncle, great grandma, and her Nana and grandpa. Between us all I think we took a bazillion pictures and maybe I took half of those. Breezy and a beautiful day! I recommend the trip to everyone.
Look closely this beach is full of life! Little and not so little. A PBS show on the elephant seals (so named because of the long noses on particularly the bulls) said that they once filled the beaches of CA but for a reason I don't really remember- blubber? to eat? (they would be pretty easy prey) they were killed off at any rate and now come to these beaches in central cali to mate, and give birth and molt and amuse us.

Now is the time of the weaners. The mothers begin to leave the babies to fend for themselves and to teach themselves to swim. The only bulls around like this one below are premies- under 9 yrs (that is when they begin mating). The guide said this fine big fellow was probably 8. Each time the ocean washed around him his nose would blow bubbles as he slept.
We stood behind the fence and peered down on them snapping away trying to capture quick and a precious few movements, facial expressions, fights, playing and big round eyes.

Is he smiling?
A clawed flipper? reaches up and lazily scratches.

Here you can clearly see the molting- he's probably a yearling.

Once again the visit was made so much more of an adventure with the excitement of Ladybug Sunshine and Little Mother.

While you are there visiting- Do not feed the plump little squirrels who will come right up to you and practically climb up your arm.