2020

2020

It has been “a year” … a year of uncertainty, despair, hope, survival.

In three years the boys and I have moved three times. I have had a job for the last two years and I am happy there…working with the animals, getting by paycheck to paycheck…but making ends meet. We needed that. Especially these last four years when our whole country has been in such turmoil. Praying this month is a new beginning for our country…for our world.

And I write. Every day, even if it is just a few paragraphs or a chapter. I have now completed three books…dear Aerlinn’s Touch of Shadow may never be realized but he taught me how to write. Khyr’s The Call is still my heart, I’ll be going back in to edit that one next year. This year I completed the first book of Truian’s Cardreanys series, and I am almost half way through the second. Considering this year, I am not displeased with this.

Our home for this past year is near the coastal marsh and is a lovely, quiet little place. Close enough I can walk to my work, but set back from the busyness of everyday life. There is a park just up the road with a lovely view of the marsh, huge live oaks, and a little dock where we can stand and watch little crabs scuttling about their busy little lives, and small boats heading up the marsh channels out to the sea.

Our beloved African Grey parrot, Scooter, passed away from a massive heart attack quite unexpectedly this fall. My heart and my home have an empty place now. I miss her voice. Miss talking to her and singing to her, listening to her grumble till I brought her breakfast, hearing her whistle the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean, and watching her play ‘fight’ with the pup. We buried her at the edge of the park…where she can fly free and be the pirate she was meant to be.

we miss you, Scoot-bird

We are down to just two dogs now… Nugget, our rescue from I-26 rush-hour traffic, and our rescue pup, Chewbacca…more commonly called Chewie…because he DID chew everything. Including eating my shoes and my glasses, lol. He is much better now that he is 2, but his common sense is still a little slow growing in, lol.

Chewie hiking with me…7 miles and he wasn’t even tired


So it has been a long, difficult climb to this November…but looking forward, ever with hope, to the rest of this endless year….and a brighter tomorrow for us all.

Starry starry night

It is fall here in the South. Many of the leaves that will fall are already down thanks to the record breaking number of tropical storms and hurricanes this season. We haven’t been hit by even one good one, but all the fronts come on up our way and the winds have cleared the trees early.

The lawncare people continue to destroy all my attempts at making this house my ‘home’. I’m not much of an interior decorator… that isn’t where my heart lies. What I love is the yard, landscaping, trees, bushes, flowers, gardening. The lawncare people have mowed down my knee high + hydrangeas (bushes!) and this week they took my front flower bed all the way to bare DIRT with their weed whackers.

Ferns, hostas, daylilies, astilbe… all gone. I can’t begin to understand why anyone would mow down an edged flower bed. Guess I will put up signs till they figure it out.

Next week is my grandson Cedric’s birthday. Hoping to put the finishing touches on his birthday present tomorrow and mail it Monday. He is an amazing little man, smart, creative, and just a beautiful human being.

For now, another long day at work ended with a slow, barefoot stroll home under a wondrous star-flung sky on a pleasantly warm and gentle night. I am blessed beyond measure.

Dark Skies: The Best Places For Carolina Star Gazing - QC Exclusive

Embrace the magic of each new day. It is irreplaceable.

Home Again!

June 1st 2018 and…after five MONTHS of silence…I have returned.  It isn’t that I chose to be absent, but my laptop died and with a family growing as I added our little man…there simply were no finances for a replacement.

But life, if crazy and stressful, is also beautiful and blessed.  We got through the remainder of winter. Saw the first flowers of spring, have watched the mockingbirds build a nest next to the front gate, feed their nestling and seen him grow, fledge and move to the big tree where he is safer and, no doubt, learning to fly properly.  Image result for mockingbird fledgeling

We added a new dog to the brood. There will be an entire post about her soon, I promise.

For now…so happy to be back. So thrilled to be able to share this life journey with you once more.

Super Blue Blood Moon

Sounds like a horror movie…and this is the first one in over 150 years, so, of course, we couldn’t miss seeing it.  It was more than worth the venture into the cold night air (okay yankees, don’t laugh….down here we are pretty sure freezing to death happens at 50)

"Winter Halo" created by refracted light from ice crystals.  Beautiful! 12-28-12  It wasn’t a huge supermoon like the one the first of the month…but this one thrilled us with a lunar halo sometimes called a ‘moon dog’. It happens when ice crystals (told you it was cold! lol) in high cirrus clouds refract the moonlight into a ring around the moon.  It was breathtaking.  In another hour I will venture out once more to see if the eclipse, which cannot be seen here on the East Coast, provides the ‘blood’ tinge we have been looking for.

Now…go have a look up at the heavens and embrace the sense of awe in its beauty.

Monday Menu

Yes…a new year.  A new determination to make this MY year and get my diet where I want it to be.  Not where others prefer, maybe not even in their comfort zones, but to take the knowledge I gained in college courses on fitness and nutrition, what I have learned from life and from reading, and from what my body says makes me feel best and make some changes.

First up.  The dreaded…cover your eyes…no don’t, then you can’t read this, lol…Monthly Menu!  Meal Plan!  Whatever you choose to call it, it is a great idea that makes me crazy.

One…. it doesn’t really allow for shopping on a budget.  In my case, I shop around sales and coupons and what is in season. Not easy to plan for those.

Two…. I don’t know ahead what I ‘feel’ like cooking, how much time we’ll have after events, traffic, life…or what the boys will want to eat on any given night.

Three…. my very ADHD brain just doesn’t WANNA.

Okay, that’s not a very good reason, and the OCD part of me is grinning and rubbing her hands together in anticipation of my actually creating a plan for any part of my life.

Now, there was a time, when I was a younger mom with a house full of kids, homemade, adopted and foster, and a hubby who provided us a good income, that I actually was very good at monthly menus. Yeah.  Not sure where she went.  So here we go. Feel free to hold hands if it gets too scary. (Don’t worry… there won’t be an entire month here today… baby steps 😉 )

In everyday America meal plans are planned around the meat.  Not mine.

Monday:  Breakfast: overnight oatmeal with coconut and chia seeds/juice   Lunch:  pita sandwich with cabbage/carrot/brocci slaw, hummus, tahini, and whatever else I feel like throwing on…sometimes diced egg, or leftover tempeh…just fill it up  Afternoon snack:  (because without it the boy spawn might eat me!)  apple slices/peanut butter and popcorn  Supper:  spagetti squash with mushroom/pepper sauce and veggie meatballs

Tuesday:  Breakfast:  Fruit smoothie of whatever fruit and veggies are in the fridge plus flax   Lunch:  southwestern salad with corn, black beans, peppers and tortilla strips  Afternoon snack:  chips and dip  Supper:  Coconut Thai Curry with jasmine rice

Wednesday:  Breakfast:  cereal with berries and almond milk/juice   Lunch:  onigiri and salad  Vegan Onigiri, Six Ways -- These whimsical Japanese rice triangles can be flavored with a multitude of ingredients and make a great packed lunch or bring-along for a springtime picnic.

Afternoon Snack:  banana and peanut butter sandwiches  Supper:  vegan Chili with Tortillas (make lots, it is great to have leftovers)

Thursday:  Breakfast:  Fruit smoothie plus hemp seed  Lunch:  Veggie kebabs on pretzel sticks with carrot chips and ranch dip  Afternoon Snack:  goji berry raw snack chunks

Tasty Plant-Based Snacks for After-School

Supper:  BBQ pulled ‘pork’ (jackfruit is amazing!) sandwiches,  spicy fries, brocci-slaw

Friday:   Breakfast:  steel cut oats with fruit and almond milk/juice  Lunch:  Veggie Taco roll ups  Afternoon Snack:  Bababahummus with carrots/celery/pita chips  Supper:  Chili Nachos with guacamole and hot corn salsa

Saturday:  Breakfast:  pancakes with fruit/juice  Lunch:  pasta salad with veggies  Afternoon Snack:  PB Energy snack balls  Supper:  Mushroom pho soup

The best thing about cold weather is all the noodle soup. Recipe here.

Sunday:  Breakfast:  Fruit and veggie smoothie with chia seeds  Lunch:  Mediterranean wrap, grapes  Afternoon snack:   roasted spicy chickpeas  Supper:  Mimi Taters and vegan sausage

There…that wasn’t so bad.  And I had a lot of the ingredients on hand or they are staples.  Gonna make this work.

 

Wishful Wednesday

I ‘wish’ it was wicked…but not too much luck with that today.  At least not yet.

Instead another long, looooong day in the car had me thinking of so many things I wish I could change around here. Wish David was still here…the kids miss him so much.  Wish I could buy him one more banana split at Dairy Grove…and watch the kids giggling over their own ice cream, and how much Dat loved his 😀

Wish I could find a job.  Now that at least can be more than a ‘wish’.  I can change that.  I will change that.

Wish I could find a better ‘home’ for the kids, and me.  Found a wonderful little run-down ‘shack’ of a home driving around last week, the paint long gone, but the porch strong and sturdy, the tin roof needing a good cleaning and mercy! does the whole place need landscaping…a girl can dream.  It would be such a joy to take an old abandoned house like that and bring it back to life.  Make it a ‘home’ once more.  No fancy renovations; just restore it and love it. Put an old wringer washer like Grandma had on the back porch, and a tire swing in the tree out front.

Old Maytag wringer washer like my Grandmas used to have! Oh the memories of laundry day!

Get a wood burning stove (or gas if the city is picky) like the one we love at writer’s camp.

Related image   My cast iron would be right at home.  antique+stoves.+wood+and+gas | Peerless Kalamazoo Gas/Wood Dual Fuel Antique Cook Stove: grn

Add a porch swing and a joggling board…

Related image

I’d be happy to spend the rest of my life fixing the old place up and making it a little ‘more loved’ every year.

If wishes were horses….

Someday, I’ll gallop away.

 

Flying through Friday

Where did my week go?  A lot of it went to driving…the inclement weather here in the Lowcountry has really made getting anywhere a chore.  Thankfully it is beginning to move away, and the sun is shining if not warm enough for this hot rock girl.  I am happy to see it.

Since the roads aren’t too user-friendly, today I decided to just hang on the island. I went to the park, walked the trails, sat in the sun and enjoyed peace, quiet…and the wildlife. I didn’t have to look far to find company.

 Marbled godwits marched along a wooden dock.

A sewing machine sound burbling among the reeds said the Marsh wrens were busy.  Active, abundant, noisy little birds they never seem to be still and you can hear them day and night here in the Lowcountry.  It is fun to watch them, each foot clinging to a separate reed, doing a birdy version of the splits.

Image result for marsh wrens

photo by Greg Lasley (because my phone just can’t capture them from shore 😉

Along the stream there were raccoon, heron, deer, and fox prints in the mud.  I saw an armadillo trundling along a sandy stretch off the beaten path.  I do so adore the little critters…seemed too chilly for it to be out and about, but I suppose the sunshine felt good to us all today…and ya gotta eat, you know.  Ever since I was a kid growing up in Texas, I have enjoyed seeing armadillos. Such cute and useful little critters.  Amazing to see them swimming in the summer.  Glad they have made their way to the Lowcountry.  

And with my peaceful sojourn at an end, I picked up the kids and trucked on home.

Now for an evening spent with my ‘fellas’ (on the page) and the boys (who are eagerly awaiting spinach ravioli for supper).  May your weekend be filled with peace and small wonders.

Munchie Monday

I am a ‘working-on-it’ healthy eating fanatic.  I backslide; I admit it. Never all the way; just small ‘errors’ in judgement, ha. I am not as strong-willed as my eldest daughter who has been straight vegan for…ever!  And it shows.  She is healthy strong, and fearless.  I hope a little of that comes from me…making her endure packed lunches with homemade whole grain bread (no white bread in this household!), and fruits, veggies…no bologna or processed foods…just things I knew were healthy for a growing little person but awfully hard to explain to classmates who just thought she/we were ‘weird’.

The entire family has been red meat free for 15 years for humane and environmental reasons. I have in the last couple of years started cutting out all the turkey and chicken…and while I am pretty successful in managing mine, it is still in the house because I also have a very recalcitrant teenage son who wants his ‘meat’ at least sometimes.  Since this way of eating is my personal choice…and I hope someday he will make that choice on his own…I am not going to force it on him.  But here we are with a new month, a new year…and I am eager to expand my horizons on the foodie front.

I am so excited!  Today I revisited a favorite even with my meat-eater…stuffed okra boats.  The kids love them.  I love them.  Time to try some new things to stuff them with… but first:

This is my go-to recipe:

  • 24 fresh medium size okra pods (1 lb.)  (split down the top, stem removed, and but don’t pop it open. It is a ‘boat’ not a ‘life preserver’ lol)
  • 1/2 avocado (mashed)
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts (chopped fine)
  • 1/4 cup red onion (minced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger  (minced)
  • 1 jalapeno chili, seeds removed (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt  (add to taste)
  • First mince all the ingredients that need mincing.  (NOT the okra)
  • Combine filling. Add the creamed avocado.  Gently stuff filling into each okra boat.
  • Place on parchment lined baking sheet, spray with coconut oil spray and bake at 425 till the boats are crispy and tops are slightly browned (about 10 min)
  • Peanut-Stuffed Okra Fingers

Frigid Fantasy Friday

I decided early this morning that I might as well have fun with this since we are obviously freezing down here in the Lowcountry…  a myriad of possibilities later (and, might I add, not a one of them sounded the least bit ‘fun’ to this hot-rock loving girl) the best part might be dragons. I love some of the old Norse mythology that had dragons not in caves but living beneath the ice or atop mountains… spreading their wings and with each beat the frigid winds of winter.

A few fun-filled hours of exploration later I found this beautiful creature:  

Pretty….but not cold enough for today’s weather, ha.

  Not sure how well that ice would fly…

How about a dragon that actually causes cold instead of just living in it?

Image result for ice dragons pictures

This one seems to feel as frigid as my poor bare feet.  Great.

Now off to find socks and make hot chocolate.  Stay warm ya’ll

The Wonderful…and the Wicked

It would be lovely if the only thing being ‘wicked’ today was my over-wrought imagination.  Sadly, no.  Climate change has decided to mess with our weather and so, at the beginning of January, here we are on the coast of South Carolina staring winter in its hoary eyes.

In short, it is cold.

Cover the plants kind of cold.

New Zealand is looking better by the minute.

~~~

On a warmer and much more wonderful note, today I celebrate two amazing birthdays.

My sister was born on this day and she has been a joy and a grounding in my world since she made her appearance.  I became her ‘little’ …and certainly more obsessive…mama.  Determined to love and protect this little person with her big dark eyes and sweet smile from the moment she came into my life.  I have other siblings, but this one was/is ‘mine’.  Unlike the middles, she was more like me…not a ‘favorite’, not over-protected, not pampered.  She was tough.  We had to be.  She shared my passion for animals and nature, she was and is a beautiful, compassionate, and deeply caring human being.

I bought her her first horse…a POA aptly named Little Satan…he was her best friend and companion and he adored her as much as she loved and needed him.  Now she has a tough miniature horse out there in Arizona and a gorgeous mustang mare…and they bring her joy each and every day.

I am so thankful for this day and the love it brought into our world.  Happy Birthday, Tamara.

Birthday number two?  The irreplaceable J.R.R. Tolkien!  How can a birthdate not be more magical for being shared with the master of fantasy?  If any of you don’t know…I totally adore Tolkien.  I devoured his books. He gave a girl with a wild imagination another world to live in, another place to dream of, a new place in mt heart to call ‘home’.

Now, so many books and years later, I write fantasy…because I have dreams and worlds of my own to share…and he led the way.  Happy Birthday, Professor Tolkien, and thank you.

May we all find new warmth, and new wonders on this beautiful winter day.