Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday bird watching and thoughts on parenting...

Whenever people see the solarium on the back of the house, usually
the first thing they say is, what a wonderful place to have morning
coffee and watch the birds! Well, while I don't drink coffee, I do...
Love to watch the birds from the solarium!
Especially early in the morning when everyone has breakfast on the mind!
Fortunately, I filled every bird feeder on the
property last night before I went to bed...
Which means there's plenty for everyone... Even the chipmunks!
All eleven of them!
I like them. But they do tend to...
Annoy the birds!
Especially birds watching their young, trying to train them
to use the feeders. Like this momma Cardinal and her...
Young, son
As I watch them, I can't help but think how easy momma-Cardinal makes it
look. She's survived on her own to adulthood, protected a nest from various
predators and worked hard to feed and nurture her baby. And now, against
considerable odds, her son is flying on his own. You know, I have a young
son too. And, despite my best efforts, he can't seem to leave our nest...
The pain, heartbreak and struggle to raise him has been constant. Twenty-
one and a half years, to be exact. And, just when I begin to trust a corner
might get turned and, I believe healing might actually be a possibility...
It all falls spectacularly apart and we end up
even further behind where we last started!
The things we've tried would flat-out astound you. They are things that
would require you to wonder how it is that I am still able to get out of bed in
the morning or how it is that there is still a dime left in my accounts. And yet,
here I am! Still plugging away on faith that one day he'll wake up and get it...
Get that he is amazing and capable of overcoming anything and
absolutely everything he doubts about himself and the world...
And, more! If only he would trust himself and be less afraid. And, less critical
and judgmental of us. And, be more motivated. And, more eager for a happy
life of his own. A life that rewards him and, punishes us less. I wonder a lot...
About what else I might do or say to inspire him. God knows the life his father and I
have built together and, most certainly all his brother has accomplished should be
more than enough to demonstrate that anything he could imagine is possible. But
incredibly, it's not. Nothing has worked to set his sail. There is only defiance...
There is one strategy left... A strategy that goes against all it means
to be a parent. A strategy that says I love you enough to suffer the
pain that comes from letting you go... Letting you go to build a life
of your own without the input and guidance you so seem to resist
I'm once again waiting for the other shoe to drop. Wondering what
next event it will be, before I screw up the courage again to let him go...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summer Garden and Cooking

Thunder just chased us out of the pool...
And, the roast I put in the crockpot
this morning is calling us inside too!
I'm not so much about the roast as I am about the red
potatoes that were dug up from the garden last night!
For me, summer cooking has two speeds. Grilling...
And, crockpot. For meals that cook themselves!
All these forces working against my efforts to remain outside aside, I
absolutely refuse to go until I capture these butterflies on the phlox
This is the best time of the phlox growing season!
And, the bees and butterflies agree!
It's good to know the heat and the humidity is good for something!
Because all it does for me is makes me wilt!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


It was a beautiful day for a drive...
To join the male underwear team for their annual UNSAD work day!
UNderwear Summer Activity Day, that is! Last year we
were all UNSAD at the National White Water Center!
So fun! And this year, we were UNSAD...
Way up in the mountains of North Carolina! Along the way I had to stop to take
this photo because the last time I saw this gorgeous piece of pottery, it was being
auctioned off at one of the estate sales we attended last year! I remember highest
bidder telling me all about his plans to have it relocated to his home somewhere up
in the mountains near Boone. I had no idea I'd ever see it again but... There it is!
Anyway... We all met at Zaloo's Canoes just outside West Jefferson!
We could not have asked for better weather...
Or a better group of people to canoe the New River with!
We played canoe dodge ball and other games for prizes! And this canoe team
you're looking at... Which happens to be my canoe team, could not be beat. We
defended against fierce dodge ball competitors all the way down the river!
So fun!
We had the river all to ourselves all morning!
The scenery was spectacular...
And the two hours we paddled and played...
Went by in a flash!
Half way through the excursion we switched teams...
And, paddled on!
Now, you know that we've been on the New
River before but I think it's high time we went back!
I'm barely out of the shower after UNSAD 2012,
and I'm already looking forward to UNSAD 2013!

Monday, July 16, 2012

If I couldn't do it... You probably couldn't either!

I was so very excited last January to win this contest with Liz...
Especially after I received my copy of Cupcakes, Cookies and Pie, oh my!
and noticed this adorable no-bake Dog Pound Cake on page #65! Why?
Because I happen to have a boss who has a dog that looks just like this! She's
so sweet... Both my boss, and her dog! So since tomorrow is her birthday, I
decided it was high time to break out the book again and create this dog cake!
I've plotted and planned the project for weeks! I've also Googled high and low for
a real-life example to inspire me and perhaps help me avoid any pit-falls with
this project... But guess what? There isn't one on-line example that I could find!
I still cannot believe I'm the only one to blog this cake. So if you've created
it, have photos and/or have blogged about it, please let me know because I
would love to see it! Anyway, feeling totally on my own on this one, I read,
re-read, highlighted and measured out every step... Just to be absolutely
sure I was prepared. By the way... Jumbo spice drops are scarce in my
area so I suggest you skip the candy store and go to Rite-Aid first!
Initially, my angst appeared to be for not,
while my planning seemed to be paying off...
Because everything was coming together perfectly!
I tinted icing for those super-cute water and food dishes in the picture...
And, I dissected my pound cake with precision, using
exact measurements, as outlined in the directions!
First for the head...
Then for the tail...
Then, after all the pieces were assembled, it was time to...
Let the Dog out... Woof, woof!
However, just as I began to see this as the centerpiece
of the celebration I have planned for my boss tomorrow...
The wheels came off my little dog cake project...
Rather, the head came off my pound cake dog...
And, that... Well, that ruined everything!
Plan B will have me placing a rush-order
with my favorite bakery in the morning...
And by that time... My little raccoon family out in the
yard will have digested this most unfortunate epic fail!

Note: While it may appear from the photos that only the head fell off, (due to weight/not being attached far enough back onto the body) what actually happened is that the pound cake broke/sliced away/separated along the poke-holes made by the straws used to secure the head to the body of the cake - How to prevent this from happening is still a mystery to me. Peace and Love and, Happy Creating always!