Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Stopping in for a quick update...thank you all for your encouragement and for prayers you may have said. :)

A number of factors have all converged to convince me that the best course of action right now is to go forward with a new career course. Transitioning to it is going a little differently than I had previously anticipated, but probably better. Everything toward the new direction is happening so smoothly, it's hard to imagine it going any better. Things related to exiting the old status quo seem to indicate sooner rather than later, so after a lot of thought and consideration, I am going to submit my two week notice.

That's uncharacteristic for me, since I'm the kind of person who will stay way past my "best by" date (ha) in any job whether the job suits me or not...that's how ingrained the loyalty-to-company and work ethic concepts are to me. I'll do this by the book and with no negativity. It's just time. All factors..the hour commute each direction, the expense, the low wages, unavailability of carpooling and public transport options (we have only the one vehicle now), the unpredictability of hours, the night hours, the susceptibility to economic fluctuations with my present job are outweighed by better prospects in EVERY category.

So, it's time to smile, say a prayer of thanks for a pantry in which we've been regularly stockpiling a few things, and thanking my friends here for your wonderful words of wisdom and encouragment.

Thank you!

It's all good...I'm excited, and I've already read through my course materials and am beginning to memorize some of the flashcards with much anticipation.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Job Hmmm

Will I lose my job? I'll probably know by tonight.

Someone is out injured and they need folks to fill in. My situation has changed a lot since I first began working for my company, namely, I no longer have a car and have to share the hour commute around my husband's schedule.

My supervisor is being intractable about my unavailability for additional hours, since when I was initially hired I had indicated I could be flexible with that somewhat. I can't now.

I got the speech "when you needed a sick day, someone else was willing to work it for you."

I wonder what about "I don't have a car" spells an unwillingness to be flexible.

He said he will call me back with his decision this afternoon. Decision?

Maybe he's getting me a new car ;-)

Or maybe I no longer have a job? This may be one decision that's out of my hands, but I'm feeling stressed a little, nevertheless.

Maybe God is presenting this as a confirmation that I need to pursue other options and that this isn't where I need to be.

We'll see. I'm not upset, but it's hard telling my body blood pressure thinks otherwise.

Interestingly, I pick up my books later today for the CNA class...

As of 5:25 PM, Supervisor has not called back. ARGGGHHH.


Monday, June 21, 2010

He's here, some things fall apart, he laughs, he's happy...and the rest of it really doesn't matter :)

Gift order for Father's Day not arrived in mail yet.
Family gathering canceled because daughter was sick.
Thunderstorm roiling in.
Foolproof pound cake NOT foolproof. Threw out pudding-like substance. Make chocolate cookies.
Made homemade soup.
Hot, perfect yeast rolls and butter.
Cold fruit...strawberries, papayas.
Eager four-legged assistant taste-tester giving smiles and encouragement.
Green growing things glistening in the heat, everything flourishing faster than it can be mowed and harvested.
Jack mowing and harvesting, also glistening in the heat. Frequent draughts of cold fresh lemonade!
Outdoors as muggy as a shower and smelling like baked sunshine and new-cut grass.
Warm showers outdoors, cool shower indoors.
Clean sheets, shadowy room.
Lazy naps.
Kitchen fragrances, bottom notes of garlic, yeast bread, and chicken soup, top notes of chocolate and fresh fruit.
Happy, sunburnt, clean, warm husband arms to wrap up in.
Replete at table, feasting just the two of us, content.
Happy husband, happy father's day different than planned.
He leaves early to take soup to daughter.
I miss him, as always, as soon as he's out the door.
Putting other chores to rest, loved ones on my mind.
Another perfect day...

(from this song)

Belated happy father's day to all the men out here who have been the important men to a younger generation in so many important ways. Especially, as in our case, those men who are fathers to children not born to them biologically but brought into the family as permanently as if they had. My hero.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Reading Aloud

It's something we're doing more of, though I've only really ever read aloud to Rachel when she was younger, growing up. Jack grew up in a different culture that didn't include the books I know best, so we're finding some to read together, since he's interested, and I am, too...ones more from my neck of the woods. Because of circumstances, his childhood bypassed many of the books I think of as classics. As a teen, he was so thirsty to catch up to so much lost (to him up till then) literature that he took one summer and did nothing but hole up in his room and read all the ones he was most curious about. (Much to his mom's displeasure at the time...she believed he needed to be out working, but he felt he may never have the chance again.)

The books we'll read together can be anything, and in fact I plan to include some classic children's stories, since in my very biased opinion those are some of the best books written. There are so many movies out based on classic books, but as always the actual literature just can't compare (usually) with the movie form...the books win hands down. That's the case with the movie version of The Yearling, even though it's replete with some of the silver screen greats such as Gregory Peck. In comparison with the written story, the movie is a flat, single-dimensional stand-in, and not really even in the same category. The only exceptions right now to my preference of Book-over-movie version are some of the earlier English authors whose older English is harder to do justice to aloud (for me) rather than when just reading it to myself. Dickens and Austen fall into those categories at present. I don't know that we're ready for a Pride and Prejudice or Bleak House read-aloud, but we have the longer versions of the movie dramas till we are. And of course plenty of true history and bio books to fufill the testosterone quota necessary if things get too stacked in the Romance department for Jack's male taste :)

But as I said, this time we started with The Yearling, mostly because I'd finished several books by and about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings...fascinating stuff. She was a bit of a prima donna in life before taking some career and life hits, and finally ending up down in Florida, buying a farm deep in the scrub and enthusiastically mingling with the native Floridians (crackers, as the poorest were termed) and learning first-hand about the native plants, animals, and backwoods survival even while trying her hand at managing an orange grove for the first time. She wrote inquisitively and intuitively. I remember having read The Yearling as a child, and had a totally different feeling about it now after having read it (to both of us) as an adult...I appreciate it more from an adult perspective, which is to say I love how the same book can speak to different ages and at different levels if it's well enough written.

We really enjoyed it. We don't shy away from books still preserved in their historical vernacular (my polite way of saying they're written in language not considered appropriate today...books such as Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn, etc). They point out some things I'm appreciative of, such as how far we've come in areas of civil rights, etc. But I don't believe in cleaning up the past by rewriting it. Don't know how I got off an that tangent...just one of my pet peeves in reading...I like books preserved the way their authors wrote them.

We finished up The Yearling, and doggone if I wasn't mopping my face and trying to hold myself together by the last paragraph. I kept taking long pauses, trying to collect myself so as not to lose the momentum in reading, and to finish it well instead of with some big, ugly sobs...heh :) I won't type it here, in case you've never read the book, but it's a coming-of-age story that has characters as complex as any in real life, so anyone can relate to it and to the theme of life being full of choices that are painful but are necessary.

Anyway, good book, and we laughed at a lot of the parts.

Now we'll choose the next book to read aloud....all suggestions welcome!

Any kind of book is fair game, anything from War and Peace to Hop on Pop, Machiavelli to Mike Mulligan's Steam Shovel, Hardy to Bombeck.

Whoa...have I turned into my grandparents?? They used to read things of interest from Reader's Digest to each other. Hmmmm


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Week Two Manasota Beach

clicking will enlarge pics...

These are all this week's glimpses of Manasota Beach before sundown Saturday, as a storm system was rolling in. It is so beautiful how the color changes every direction we turned, as if we're in several different settings. The water at one point, as seen in some of the pictures, was literally divided into luminescent jade on one side and deep indigo on the other, with clouds bouncing pink lights on one half of the beach and the others all washed in blue-greens.

I played with a few of the photos to give them an antique-kodak type of color seen on old color postcards...and so on :)

Having fun with the cam, but not hard to with the lure of the ocean. The breeze, again, was wonderful that time of day.

Thus ends my tourist board-ish promotion...ya'll come on down :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Beach Pics from Weekend: Manasota Beach

So far we haven't noticed evidence from the oil spill, though I think it just caught up to the Florida beaches sometime today or yesterday.  These are shots from our trek to the beach just before sunset this weekend.  Great breezes, though inland it was hot, hot, hot.  The air was hazy, like looking through colored veils at the sun.  It's amazing how many colors display themselves in the short time it takes to garner a few random photos.  Note to self:   I need to get out here more to these beaches...we live within an easy drive and there's simply no reason not to soak this in whenever possible.

I just finished cleaning up the supper table from tonight's meal.  With some of the new spices received today (!!!) I used what I had on hand to make a black bean dal with some spice mix, extra cumin and ginger, couple tablespoons coconut milk, 1/4 c cream blended in blender with 1/4 c pine nuts (didn't have cashews).  The spices got heated in a bit of hot oil to bring out their fragrance, and some leftover diced potato went into the dish, too.  It turned into a thick, creamy, fragrant entree when  combined and served over hot basmati rice (in which I had sprinkled some finely crumbled dried mint).  I seared some cubes of roast beef separately in a dot of oil and some ground garam masala spices and served that on the side.  Green smoothie rounded all of it off, and cold glass of orange juice.   Wow...replete, and the house smells SO good!  And Jack's a very happy man, so I'm really happy :)

Good news on the "goals" front...I think the CNA class may happen later this summer.  Preliminaries are going well so far, with some things falling into place that, happily, are accomodating the necessary arrangements.  We'll see!

Finished off some books begun last week.  I'm still concurrently reading journals of early Florida settlers, etc...more interesting than fiction :)  Also ripped through The Historian, La Lacuna, (hard to put them down) and two more a book about "Tokyo Rose,"and the other one called Slaves in the Family (set in the Carolinas and South and about just what it sounds like it's about), and in the fiction category,  a couple Mitchard novels (she's my recent read-through-entire-works-of author).   I hate back-editing, so am leaving that last sentence as possibly one of my worst run-ons of note.   I should never read Mitchard's palm-sized Christmas, Present for a pick-me-up, though...I snotted through a half box of Kleenex with that one (it's not about Christmas, btw).  But it's a really good story.

OK, that's about it for now.  Just had to show the shots of the beautiful nice that my camera will adapt to the light.  It was like gazing at a subdued sun amid atmospheric mists that filtered the light as through frosted glass.

Shehecheyanu :)

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

Oh WOW...this is such a fun day! Happyhappyhappy! One of my best buds has been saving this and that over the past year to send me, and the day finally came, woohoo! (THANK YOU, you know who you are...) She said she was sending a few fun things, but opening the box was like a treasure chest, and the smell was like a spice market, mmm :)

Here are some of the goodies I found:

14 packets of Indian spice mixes (parrrrrtttyyy!)
2 bottles tea tree oil
heirloom seed packets, hard-to-find varieties
2 big bags mustard seeds, one black one the lighter color
some great supplements
A book on growing Asian foods, signed by the author (included my name, how neat :))
A huge bag of local-to-my-friend handmixed garam masala spices to grind
2 different kinds of quinoa
big bag of dried indian mint

I'm not sure I named everything, but what a huge treat! This place is going to be smelling like a thousand kinds of wonderful in the kitchen, what with all those spices I don't usually have on hand, but do now! I don't know what it is about some Indian spice mixes, but I love the fragrance so much I could almost roll in the stuff like a cat in catnip, ha :)

Anyway, much thankfulness going on over here, my cup overflows. It's the friendship behind the gifts that means the most. These gifts will last a long, long time, and will continue to make me smile as the days are seasoned with friendship across the miles.

I'm filled with gratefulness. Can't wait till my house is filled with a whoosh of the exotic....clouds of spicy oven perfume...woo!!