Monday, July 30, 2012

Looking for the Crack in the Pavement.

We have all seen the pictures of the dandelion growing along the crack of a sidewalk in a bustling inner city?  The picture of a dandelion growing in the pavement is a metaphorical symbol of hope...

So  you see why this stings a bit?

God,  Its not roses that I am asking for... just a dandelion... 

* Listening to James Vincent McMorrow, Higher Love

Monday, July 23, 2012

I AM a manager of Chaos.

"I am not a control freak. I am a chaos manager", I screamed almost sarcastically! 

 Ok so... I like to know stuff. {shoulders shrugs}

 My husband says my obsessive need for schedule, planning and knowledge has to do with me being a control freak... But honestly its not about control. I just HATE surprises! No seriously, I don't like them. I like to know what I need to do everyday in order to get from point A to point B. There is and should always be a plan!

  I like my chaos management method... I like method... possibly why I am a Methodist? Vice verse? Anyways...

 I like to stay on target. I enjoy planning because I like to look forward to things and I like to see all angles so I may play interference if needed. I like to know exactly how high I have to jump in order to cross a road block. AND YES precise measurement and foresight is needed!

 Frankly, to me the absence of  schedule, planning and knowledge can create nasty mixture of combustibles... Some of which have been know to be filled with confetti and others well we have all seen what happens when stupid people get together?   (who hasnt watched Tosh. O?)

Now you have to understand here, to me surprises equal chaos. I am a mother of three... my life is chaotic enough as it is thank you very much! I will pass on the unforeseen.

Lets talk surprises...

 Granted some surprises are great especially if they are a true surprise! Like the kids receiving a special award at school. Its always nice to see their self esteems grow but I would like to know a head of time so I  can plan to take pictures and make their day extra special. ;-)

  My husband buying me flowers, another fantastic surprise! Granted I have to move the fruit bowl from the center of the table thus cluttering the kitchen counter top so the flowers have a beautiful place to sit. But in a few days the fruit bowl will usually be empty and I can hide it in the cabinet until grocery day. Now if I had just bought fruit... well I will have to do some minor arranging to the kitchen and refrigerator but... chaos in those terms are manageable and dare I say even greatly appreciated!

Waiting to find out the sex of your baby until birth? It takes me months to find the perfect name. I suppose I could pick out one of each but... wow, trying to wrap my brain around planning and dream of the future for a sexless baby is inconceivable to me. Its not my style of planning but to each their own.

Then there is the even bigger life altering surprises like hooligans setting one of your spec houses on fire or your car breaking down. Surprise, you under paid your taxes or one of your kids surprise you with a stomach virus all over the floor. Then there is the surprise your husband has a girlfriend or sudden lay offs at work! I mean come on people most of us have been there at one point in time, right? Those surprises suck!

What do we do to avoid life's little inconveniences? We build in respectable neighborhoods, you perform regular maintenance on your vehicles, you claim one less dependent on your taxes at the beginning of the year, you GermX your kids, and you choose a trust worthy spouse and you work on saving your nest egg!

So you see, you hate surprises too! Don't judge me. I am just a hope for the best and plan for the unexpected kind of girl... AND if I can get a heads up about the "unexpected" heading my way... Heck yeah I am on it and planning!

So now that you understand me, here is the low down.

Almost 61/2 years ago I had a girls night out with a good friend of mine. Being a little daring and slightly silly we decided to go to a psychic. Who doesn't want a little peek into the future, right? (I think we have established that I do)

 It was suppose to be all in good fun. After our private readings we left and vaguely talked about what our futures were to hold. I say we were vague because the psychic encouraged us not to discuss our readings. Even from my girlfriends vague description of  hers, they were nowhere near the same. Why we shouldn't discuss it, I have no idea.

It wasn't until 3 years later when our construction company collapsed under the pressure of the over populated housing market did I start to think, "Wow, that woman might actually be legit". But when I really started to believe, was when my girlfriend got pregnant with her first baby.

The psychic told her that she will have a child and to be weary. There would be a great risk of there being something wrong with the baby. I personally think its a horrible thing to tell someone but psychic have to tell you even the bad stuff (that's what she had said)

 It was a big whoops when she had became pregnant within a month after receiving radiation treatment for a thyroid problem. The doctors had strongly warned her to be very careful as she should not became pregnant until after 12 months had past from her treatments.  9 months of pregnancy was filled with lots of testing and worries. Luckily she gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl.

As the years went by her predictions started to unravel faster and truer. As I started to see the manifestation of her visions, everyday of my life has since felt like a ticking of a clock.

The last prediction she gave me... My second son, the third child. He is suppose to be the last of my children (according to her) but that's not what Juan and I have planned!

Our son will be born in November and if we wait until after Juan deploys Andrew will be around 18 months old. We planned on trying for the next one after Juan returns home. BUT, wait! The psychic has been right so far... So what is going to happen that changes the plan!? Everyday I wonder. Every second the clocks ticking away the minutes until  the future is revealed to me. Who wants to live like that!? What have I done!?

What a horrible mistake it was to "peek" into the future! As it seems I have a good two years to worry about the hurdles that may be lurking ahead. As my pending c-section rears closer... as Juans deployment slowly creeps near.... Panic! Why will there only be three? What will happen????

I have been up since about 3am with all these worries about an unpredictable destiny!!!! It was a huge mistake but oh now how I need the questionable future to hold answers for my family and I. Oh how I wish I would have never known!!!!

I have tossed and I have turned... and I have paced and I have bit my nails down to the quick!

So after much deliberation, I decided this morning that I would seek council with God. (Unlike the psychic, he didn't tell me that I needed to keep our conversation a secret)

This is what he said...

He understands my desire to see into the future, to plan for each beautiful day but if I had spent more time practicing on my faith... the faith that he will lift me over the road blocks verses how I am going to jump them... If I had been practicing my faith to prepare me for the future instead of straining to see it, I would have never wandered through the doors of the psychic.

He confirmed, years worth of straining to see into the future has left me very blinded too blinded to embrace the day, too strained to relax and trust that things will be okay.

He said knowledge is power and too much power is a dangerous thing! I don't have the power to control the hand of God. I am just a human! Too much power and  now look, I may have just out smarted myself.

Instead of trying to discredit the psychics credibility (fingers crossed though) or obsessing over the "why's"... that energy is going towards a different kind of education, one that's truly empowering, that puts order to the chaos...

After 61/2 years of straining, planning, and worry.. Lets try this whole thing again...

Lesson one Chapter one... Practicing faith. 

So perhaps instead of letting God handle things... maybe I was just a bit of a control freak... Only now, am I a chaos manager! 

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ― Mother Teresa

“When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?” ―Chuck PalahniukInvisible Monsters

“Knowing too much of your future is never a good thing.” ― Rick RiordanThe Lightning Thief

“The future depends on what you do today.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.” ― Noam Chomsky

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Share the happiness!

I love pretty things...

Who ever came up with Red Velvet Cake... GENIUS!

I just love bright colors....

 So now you would know that confetti sprinkles make me smile!

I love to share pretty things...

And if you found this in your lunch box... wouldn't it make you appreciate pretty things too!?!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Capturing the Monster!

It has always been my arch nemesis... The one thing I fear... The one that makes me move to the other side of the road when I see it coming... The one that sends me crawling under the covers.... That puts the chills up my spine and hair stand on edge!!!!!

What is this dark shadow that I fear so much? 

Homemade Sourdough starter... and its failure, that is.

Just the mention of it would turn my stomach. I have always pride myself on having a good thorough culinary back ground. Making sourdough starter was the one thing that I have always failed miserably at. And well... failure is scary, sucks and I tend to shy away from it.

And so here is how our dark history began...

It all started out on a rainy Tuesday many moons ago. (I am not sure if it was actually a Tuesday or if it was raining).

Anyways... It all started out on a rainy Tuesday many moons ago... I was thumbing threw recipes and feeling a bit ambitious. I decided I would make a batch of sourdough starter. After all, how hard could it be, right?

 I boisterously whistled through the kitchen enthusiastically mixing water flour and yeast into my large mason jar. Just and FYI... from what I have gathered the use of yeast in your starter has seemingly been dubbed as a cheaters move and is frowned upon among the more devote sourdough bread makers. I said PASH, to them and added it anyways. After all was mixed I sat back feeling quite fine! I fed my pet everyday! O how I loved her!

Every day I would check on her progress... loving and nurturing my little one. Every day I would take a good whiff and Nada! It didn't do a darn thing except collect dust on top of my counter before growing a pretty pastel pink mold. My love turned to disappointment. "BE GONE WITH YOU!" Disgusted and feeling a lot less ambitious, I threw it out. Years later a second attempt... the same outcome but instead of the pretty pink mold it was an ugly grey. Frustrated again I tossed it out and vowed not to attempt it again.

Then one day one of my girl friends talked about starting a batch. Her enthusiasm was contagious! I mean this girl thought she was going to make something great and she made me think I could too! So I figured what the hey, I will try it again!

I mixed my ingredients and there it sat on the counter for a week... doing NOTHING. BUT. SIT. It didn't mold into a pretty pink, nor an ugly grey and even worse it didnt sour either! I wondered, "What kind of pet are you"!? Again being the quitter that I was, I threw it out. "Starter, out with the trash you shall go", I yelled! (by the way, my girlfriends bread was delicious and that stung a bit.)

Well now that you are caught up to speed, let me just tell you what happened...

My husband and I were at church one Sunday and it just so happened that it was communion Sunday. He is Catholic and I am a Methodist but we both attend a Methodist church now. Apparently the Catholic churches my husband attended previously do wafers for communion and not bread.

Anyways my husband was really impressed with the bread at communion. I told him that it was probably homemade and I had several recipes at the house. He loves to cook/bake and he is very good at it. So Juan feeling as equally ambitious as I had been years ago set out to bake his first loaves of bread. They turned out wonderful! He wanted to master the art so he baked a few more and those also turned out delicious!

Feeling a bit big of himself he wanted to try something different. Juan and I discussed various bread options. He was rolling out the last of his french loaves when that small yearning for sourdough bread struck my heart. "Lets do it", he enthusiastically shouted out!

Well, wait a minute... I have been baking for years and I have had little to no success at making a sourdough starter and here he has baked four loaves of bread and... well .... Ha... hahaha..Ha!!! I smirked remembering the days of when I was just wee ambitious baker too....

Why not! Sometimes you just have to let them get bit before they learn not to play with the big dogs. "Sure babe, let me find you a recipe", I said.

1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
 Everyday take away a cup of the mixture and add 1 cup or flour and 1 cup of water until it begins to bubble and sour.
Once it is bubbling and smelling real sour put it in the fridge and continue above instructions but only about once a week.
Remember to keep it covered.

We threw the ingredients into a bowl and mixed. We followed the instructions for about 3 days and then we noticed that we werent producing any more bubbles. (The dark shadow of failure loomed over head!)

My husband being the strong supportive man that he is encouraged us to push on!

I also did a little trouble shooting on the net and discovered that often when the starter goes flat its just hungry and you may actually need to feed it more than once a day in the beginning. I also read that you dont need to schedule feed it, you can feed it anytime of day! Another helpful tip is that unbleached flour has a better chance of starting out faster because it already holds some wild yeast which really gets that sour going!

This is a pic of our little monster growing well at about a week old. He made a full recovery after going flat and is now frothing and souring quite nicely.
The liquid on top is what they call hooch... Its good stuff. Just mix it back in when you do your feedings... or if you just want to spend time with your little frothing monster, give him a stir when you walk by.

Finally after about 5 days of letting him grow my husband took a few cups to make his first batch of sourdough bread. It was amazingly delicious! The bread sliced wonderfully, as you can see here, at my first attempt to make Frisco burgers from the homemade sourdough. They were heavenly if I do say so myself!

And that my friends is how my loving husband helped me make peace with the sourdough starter. :-)

Saturday, July 7, 2012