Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Channeling Grandma

Do certain foods bring back memories for you? I am on my way to a gastronomic journey back in time.

My mother's side of the family is from Slovakia. My grandmother was always cooking and everything she cooked was awesome! It was good home cooking with a Slovak twist. She usually had a pot of chicken soup with homemade dumplings going on the stove. Stuffed cabbage, which she called pigs in the blanket, was one of my favorites as well. She made the best chicken paprikash, which has become one of our family's favorite comfort foods during the winter, YUM! The best thing she ever made for us, and everyone within a 10 mile radius, was kolache.

My grandmother would make these delicious nut filled or poppyseed filled pastries and mail them to us wherever we lived. One of my childhood's fondest memories was getting a package from grandma and finding kolache and kifli (small cookies made with the same but sweeter pastry and nut filling) and assorted other goodies grandma deemed suitable for her grandchildren.

TJ and I are going on our next big adventure and it is to Budapest. As I have been doing research for our trip I have noticed that the food in Hungary has a distinct Slovak influence. I will only be 2 hours by train from Bratislava, where my mother's family is originally from, and am seriously contemplating a day trip. When will I ever have that opportunity again? Back to the subject at hand, the food is making me think of grandma! I can't wait to order chicken paprikash and stuffed cabbage (which I might resemble when I finish all the eating I am planning to do)and to find my first kolache and to taste homemade dumplings! It will be like a giant hug from grandma.

I am wondering if hearing the language will remind me of my grandmother sitting at her little telephone table chatting in Slovakian to her lady friends.

One thing I am not looking forward to is the endless flight from Houston to Budapest. 12+ hours which will be spent catching up on movies in a Tylenol PM induced fog and trying to get at least 6 hours of sleep and not go completely stir crazy while shifting constantly in an effort to find a comfortable position. No full size fold out bed/seat pod with room service for these budget travelers. Nope, we plan to spend our money on FOOD and wine!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Guess where I went this past weekend? Any ideas? Need more time? A hint?
Ok, one hint.

That's right! St. Louis!
It was my last Parent Weekend ever. Last "official" Parent Weekend at a university visiting one of my kids/adults. It also happened to by my LG's (little girl, and she hates it when I call her that, but she will always be my LG) birthday . I did some of my best parenting over the weekend. Which means, I made sure she and her good friends ate well and drank well. There, my job is done! If only the first 22 years had been so easy. Right?

After spending time with LG and her friends I have concluded that there are indeed some bright young people out there and our world will be just fine so you can all stop worrying now. Great kids/adults!

Here is a shot of LG and her older sister who came along and enjoyed her first visit to St. Louis. What a fun city, so much to see and do and eat! Which, did I mention, we did a lot of?

The school was having it's Homecoming weekend and one of the activities is a golf cart parade. Various clubs on campus decorate golf carts and have a parade through campus. LG and her BF were given the honor of representing the business school on their cart. They were celebrating 100 years and so LG and BF dressed in 1910 clothing and the other couple were in current business attire. How cute are they?

And now for the weather!!!!
Fall has officially arrived in Houston. Hold onto your hats people, go outside, RIGHT NOW! This will only last a few days so ride a bike, go for a run, walk to dog, do some yard work (if that's your thing), eat outside, open the windows and breathe!

Welcome to the my newest followers, 14 and counting!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's like going shopping

Yes, you are at the right blog. I am trying on new clothes for the blog. It's like shopping but cheaper! Everything does not fit either....just like clothes shopping. I have resized the background pictue at least 6 times and it is either too big a file or too small a picture,grr. It's still under constuction as far as I'm concerned. This is easier than painting a house though, just point and click, wear it for a while and decide if I like it or not. If not, point and click again. Well, there is all that trying on and seeing if it fits. That's the fun part.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Double Digits

Ten followers! Whoo hoo! Finally, I have reached double digits. There is no stopping the fame and fortune now, be glad you all joined early, when this blog was virtually unknown. You are all visionaries, you know good stuff when you read it and aren't afraid to let your face, or profile of a face, be shown on the page.

All kidding aside, it is nice to know that someone reads this stuff and I am only encouraged to wrack my brain occasionally to provide insight and entertainment for the few, the proud, the followers.

It's not too late, if you join the masses now for the low low price of clicking a button you will be in on the journey of the fall and maybe a few photos along the road and if you are lucky it will all be laced with creative wit. Stay tuned and thanks for indulging me in this little venture.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bumping Along

I think the post vacation blues have hit me. It always happens. I should know to expect this. Like I said, "re-entry can be bumpy." I have gone from a rural existence and being around familiar faces everywhere I go to a life of urban sprawl and anonymity. Sure it's going to take a little time. I did my best to prolong the vacation and acclimate to city life by spending 4 days in NYC with my sisters.

But you can't postpone the inevitable forever.... can you hear me kicking and screaming from where you are yet?

It is not like there has been nothing going on around here either. TJ and I had a quick weekend trip to Baton Rouge 4 days after I got home to celebrate his mother's 80th birthday and our brother-in-law's 40th birthday. It was wonderful to be able to participate in both. We were even blessed by an early cool (read, less than 90 degrees with only 40% humidity!)front for the weekend! Add a little LSU football and two sister-in-laws from California to the weekend and it was great! Then we had to go home, again.

The real reality started to set in. No afternoon cocktails with friends, no picking fresh produce from the garden for dinner, no long walks in the refreshing breeze, no fixing, painting, cleaning, working and visiting to fill my days. Just me and Sadie looking forlornly at each other and wondering why we are here in this heat and humidity and who invited all those mosquitos!

There is something to be said for living in a house that always needs something done to it, aka the farmhouse. We are never at a loss for things to do. Maybe I should have gotten a fixer upper here in Texas. I did get one thing fixed last week though. We did not have a light fixture in our dining room because the previous owner took hers, so now....let there be light!

We got the light up just in time for a houseful of company....yea, visitors, let's pretend we are still on vacation! Another big "0" birthday party was last weekend and we had a house full of family. Excellent! All the beds were used and the dust upstairs got stirred around a bit. Nice to have some company to justify this big house that we only use 1/3 of most days.

Slowly but surely life is getting back to normal. One day at a time I forget what it was like at the shore and engage in this life. There are still times when I walk outside (because come gotta get out and excercise sometime) that I feel like I am walking in lead boots and wearing a wet towel in a steam room, and it infuriates me because I know there are places in this world where being outside at this time of year is an absolute treat. Once the frustration passes and I accept it for what it is I am fine...until the next time I go outside and my clothes instantly bond to my body because of the hot sticky air and am reminded I am not in Canada anymore. BUMP!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Different September

September is the month that life gets back to a schedule. It is when the kids go back to school and we have to drive slowly through 3 school zones just to get somewhere in the morning or the afternoon. It is when football season starts and Saturday becomes my favorite day of the week again. When the new shows start on TV and my DVR gets used again. It's the month in some places that the weather starts to change, don't get me started! For me, this September is the first one in my life that I did not have to come home from vacation to get myself or one of my kids back in school or to get myself back to a job. Does that mean I am getting old? Don't answer that!

I find myself in a most peculiar situation. Idle. Some people would welcome this position with open arms. I appreciate that. I am not a person who is very good with "idle". Don't they say , "Idle hands are the devil's workshop."? This could be trouble. This is a turning point of sorts in my life. Time to make a decision. What to do with the rest of my life, or at least the months between September and May. Is there a job that allows me to work when I want, travel as much as I like and is at the same time beneficial to society and my well being?

I find myself trying to decide now whether to go to school or get a job or just do something completely different. I can make lots of excuses not to do anything....I have a lot of traveling coming up, maybe I don't have time for any of this. Should I just find some meaningful volunteer jobs or maybe take a class in computer literacy, french or writing, yea, writing...I could do that! Interesting September. If only the weather would change... like it is supposed to!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tree Hugging

From all outward signs it was a dry and hot summer in Houston. I arrived home to find this...

Dead plants in all of my flower beds. I think there are at least 6 dead bushes in my beds, dry, brown and crispy.

Another surprise upon arrival was the carnage behind my house. The neighborhood association decided, without even consulting ME!, to remove 14 trees in the greenspace behind our house! I am heartbroken, stunned, shocked, blinded by the light that now streams in my windows in the afternoon! My once serene and tree shaded yard is now naked and sunny (not that there is anything wrong with sun but with a western exposure, in Houston, you want trees!). "They" say they are going to replant trees, but it will take years for the trees they plant to grow into trees. "They" are taking out large, mature trees and probably putting in twigs that will take years before they give me any shade or privacy. It is, after all...all about me, right? Obviously not.

So, not only did I have to leave this lovely, peaceful, wide open spaces view

I have no trees and a veiw of houses I have never seen (and frankly never expected to see), and they look a lot closer than I expected. Ugh!
Like I said before, re-entry can be bumpy. Don't even get me started on the weather.
On the upside, I have done some serious retail re-entry. After 2 months of shopping only at grocery stores and hardware stores, I have been indulging my inner diva and shopping like it's my job. Shoes...tops....dresses....pants....I have missed you all so much. Guess my next purchases will be shrubs to fill in the beds around the house. Hope it is a good growing season for my new shrubs....and those new trees "they" plant.
Welcome home!
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