Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Getting Back to Normal...At Least to What *Normal* is for Me

With the million and one things that have happened in the past 30 days, I have no idea how I've managed to get through them all. I DO know I have some of the most caring and compassionate friends any one person could ask for. Every single one of you have stopped by my Facebook page on a daily basis to leave some love and ask how I'm doing. There are a few of you who know me better than I know myself and have pulled me up by my boot straps and set my fumbling feet on the path to recovery. I have no words to express just how much you ALL mean to me or to let you know how much you are appreciated.

I've got 2 blog posts sitting in the *draft* mode, but I can't seem to find the words to finish either of them. The most difficult one is the Memories of Momma. Every time I try to work on it, I come up blank even though my mind is filled with so many memories. I suppose it's just not the time to put them down in writing...yet.

I also have one on the trip to Arizona for the memorial service via Maryland and back to North Carolina. It's also in the finish later column. There is just too much information which has begun to feel and read like a scrabble board, nothing makes sense. I don't know if I'll finish the post I have begun about this adventure or delete it and begin anew...

I haven't taken care of Ravyn on my own yet. I'm still having anxiety and panic attacks, and I'm not comfortable being responsible for someone other than myself. Jimmy helps when he's home and would probably prefer to be here more than he has been. I *need* him to go about his normal daily things and that means driving that tractor trailer and being away from home for a few days. I still find myself *zoning out* and drawing a blank, many times forgetting what I was saying or doing. And my bed and blankets are still my haven.

In my quest to return to normalcy in my life, I did cook Thanksgiving dinner. I was so happy that Amanda & Steve could come down from Durham to join Tanya, Ed, Sam, Ravyn, Jimmy and me as we celebrated the things we are thankful for. And PLEASE, if you have anything negative to say about Thanksgiving, just keep it to your self. We here in the L`Esperance Lair choose to celebrate family, friends and the things we have to be thankful for, and not the Thanksgiving we all were taught in elementary school.

Do you all do *Black Friday*?? We don't! Tanya and I did go out later in the day and brave Target and Kmart looking for the finishing touches I wanted for this years Yule decorations. I changed up from the blue, silver and purple we used the past 2 years and went with red and silver. Yule/Christmas 2009 we were living in Raleigh, our decorations that year were red and silver with candy canes and snowflakes. Unfortunately, those decorations were left behind when we moved to Hope Mills. We moved in 2 cars, and didn't have the room or the money for gas to make multiple trips.

I also wanted to make our tree Ravyn friendly...she's into EVERYTHING and I was afraid she would get hurt on glass ornaments, so I bought the unbreakable ones. And I got this gonga deal on them and didn't break the checking account in changing up the color scheme. Fortunately they look awesome and I'm very pleased with the way the tree and wreath turned out. And it also felt great to be able to get back into the crafting mode.

This gives you a little better idea of the decorations on the tree itself. I'm thinking to myself the unbreakable ornaments that at one time were used more for outdoor decorations have come a very long way. Unless you actually touch one of them, hold it in your hands, and look at it from multiple angles, you can't tell they are plastic and unbreakable. Fortunately for me, theses came in a package with 91 ornaments of each color thus giving me enough for the tree as well as a couple for the wreath.

Some of my fondest memories of my Mother were the holiday's we'd share at her house. Even after my brother and I were grown and had our own families, we made a point to spend the holidays with my parents. Our decorating ritual began on Black Friday, there was NO shopping for us. NO! We spent the entire day decorating Momma's house from top to bottom and both inside and out. Transforming our piece of the desert into Momma's idea of a Christmas wonderland was challenging at best. But somehow we pulled it off each year. Daddy and the guys worked outside, putting lights in the mesquite trees and just under the eves of the house. They set up *farolitos* lining the drive to the house and along the front porch and steps. The cleaned out the fire pit, so we could all enjoy a Christmas eve bonfire with our many friends and neighbors.

Inside, the females would set up the tree, and then begin decorating it with Momma's crystal ornaments. There HAD to be an ornament on EACH branch. Some would be working in other parts of the house adding the garland to all the arches and along the built in china hutch in the dining room. My job was to set up her Department 56 *Dickens' Village*. This sometimes took more than a day or two, depending on how many buildings and little people statues she wanted to use. And if we needed to replace any of the bulbs that lit the houses or she wanted to add a new piece, we would often have to drive into to Tucson, which turned into an all day shopping marathon, LOL!

I learned my flower arranging skills from my mother as well, which also translated into wreath making. She made many wreaths and silk floral arrangements. Some she gave away as gifts to friends and neighbors and a few she added to the annual holiday craft bazaar. Each time I work on a floral arrangement, I can hear her telling me to make sure I put the tall stems in the middle of the arrangement. And it took me FOREVER to learn how to make a bow correctly.

This year I also made my very first Yule log. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, but either didn't take the time, was too busy working through the holidays to attempt it, or didn't have the money. I'm very pleased with the way it turned out and will be making one each year from now on out, LOL!

When my world was so topsy turvy, I took a LOA from my classes. I struggled to finish the class I was in at the time, but manged to get a B- for the class. Today, I go back to class, it's day one of week one of Interpersonal Communication. This is also the first class I've had where we are required to submit a research paper each week. Luckily, two of them are papers where we give our opinion or critique of an article found in the Ashford Library. And... the instructor has provided a link to the article, which is a good thing for me, because that library irritates me each time I have to use it.

Mercury retrograde hit Jimmy harder than it did me this time. He was more emotional and easier to anger than any other time. I don't know if it was because I was already living in a fog or if I have finally figured out how to prepare for the unsettled emotions it has brought to me in the past. I will admit to being more weepy and crying more quickly, but I'm just going to attribute that to part of the mourning cycle. I'm hoping it's because I have finally learned how to work through it, reinforce my shields and reduce the raving lunatic bitch I turn into during Mercury Retorgrade.

So, there you have it. This is the latest update on me, and how I/we are doing down here in Hope Mills, NC. Thanks for stickin by me and giving me the time and space I needed  to find my way back to life, living, and the every day happenings on the inter webs.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Munchies ~ Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake with Spiced Caramel Sauce

This recipe was featured during October over at Samhain's Sirens. It was a huge hit, and I'm sharing it again here for anyone who may have missed it. I'm also planning to add this to my menu for our Thanksgiving feast.

Picture Credit Culinary.net

Ingredients

3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 pkg. (18.25 ounces) yellow cake mix
1 can (30 ounces) Libby's Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix, divided
3 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk

Preparation

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 9- to 10-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle pecans in bottom of prepared pan.

BEAT cake mix, 2 cups pumpkin pie mix, eggs and oil in large mixer bowl for 2 minutes. Spoon into prepared pan.

BAKE for 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Transfer cake to serving platter.

COMBINE remaining pumpkin pie mix, brown sugar and evaporated milk in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. 

Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat. Serve warm sauce with slices of cake.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hello Everyone, I'm Back...

...well sort of.

I have a few things I want to write about and instead of making one entry all jumbled and confusing, I'm going to try to break things down and put into words the things I NEED to say to all of you who have been so patient, loving and supportive of me, the absence from blogging and my daily recovery from the heartache of losing my Mother.

First and foremost I want to say a huge THANK YOU to some amazing people. Some of you I either know in the real world as in face to face, others are followers of this blog, One Million Pagans or friends of someone who does any of the above.

When my Mother passed away on October 27th, I found I couldn't function as a human being. I walked around in a fog, couldn't put two words together to make a comment or sentence, nor could I figure out how the hell I was going to be able to travel from NC to AZ for the memorial. SO many people stepped  up and sent love, support and also contributed to our travel expenses. Without these donations, I honestly would NOT have been able to go to the memorial... I am NOT joking about this. We had just emptied our savings account to buy a vehicle (we were without transportation of any kind for over 2 years) and hadn't been able to begin adding back to our savings.

I had planned to call you out by name but decided that may be too embarrassing for some. I have already sent private thank you messages to each of you, and now here in Blog Land I want to publicly say THANK YOU to each and everyone of you who have been so supportive during this very difficult time in my life. You are the best friends anyone could ever hope for and I am eternally grateful to all of you... I love you all!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Plea for Help...

Hello everyone, this is Jimmy, I am Vickie's husband. I've hijacked her blog today because we need your help. I'm hoping by writing here, more of Vickie's friends and followers will see this and spread the word. I posted this on my Facebook Timeline last week, and there have been many responses to our cry. To those who have already contributed I want to say a very huge THANK YOU. However, we are still short of funds for her to be able to drive to Arizona for the memorial. I will be staying behind here in NC and working to maintain our household expenses with the hope Vickie will have one less thing to worry about as she drives across country TWICE in order to join her family as they say their final goodbye's to the Matriarch of Clan Baker.


*As many of you know Vickie’s Mom passed away Saturday morning , October 27th. I want to thank all of you who have sent along your condolences and love. I want you all to know as her husband I am deeply thankful for each and every one of you. I am humbled by all of those we call friends.

Now the hard part…I cannot come up with enough money to get her and my 2 daughters and 2 granddaughters to Arizona. It is going to be about $2000 to drive and about $3500 to fly. Of which I have approximately $1000. I am well aware that most of you are in no position to aid us and I am extremely grateful to you for your friendship alone. If any of you are perhaps able, Vickie has a PayPal account and you can access it by using her e-mail vmlesperance@gmail.com when you go to the PayPal site.

This is the most difficult thing I can remember happening to me. Falling short as a provider is really tearing me up and I truly never thought I would have to bring myself to ask you all for help but, this is an extremely important thing to me, to see that she can be there for the memorial service and spreading of the ashes. As such I will humble myself and ask If any of you feel you might be able to gift us gas money, anything you could contribute would be greatly appreciated.*

If each of you would be able to contribute just $10.00, we would be well  on our way to reaching our goal. I thank you in advance for any amount you might be able to contribute...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Daily Om


I am subscribed to the Daily Om and every day I get messages in my inbox... since it seems to fit my circumstances perfectly, today's message screamed at me to share... I've shared it on my Facebook Timeline, so you may have already seen it... so here it is:

November 1, 2012
Anxiety about Change
Anticipating the Good
by Madisyn Taylor

Change will occur in almost every aspect of our lives, we can learn to embrace it while releasing the past with grace.

When we find ourselves going through any kind of change in our lives, our natural response may be to tense up on the physical, mental, or emotional level. We may not even notice that we have braced ourselves against a shift until we recognize the anxiety, mood swings, or general worried feeling toward the unknown that usually results. There are positive ways to move through change without pushing it away, however, or attempting to deny that it is happening. Since change will occur in almost every aspect of our lives, we can learn to make our response to it an affirmative one of anticipation, welcoming the new while releasing the past with grace.

One thing we can do is change our perspective by changing the labels we use to identify our feelings. We can reinterpret feelings of anxiety as the anxious butterflies that come with eager expectation. With this shift, we begin to look for the good that is on its way to us. Though we may only be able to imagine the possibilities, when we acknowledge that good is there for us to find, we focus our energy on joyful anticipation and bring it into our experience while allowing the feelings to carry us forward.

We can also choose to do a ceremony to allow our emotions to process. Every culture has created ceremonies to help people make the transition from one phase of life to the next. We can always create a ceremony too, perhaps by burning written thoughts to watch the smoke carry them away, thereby releasing them, or we can welcome new endeavors by planting flowers or trees. Some ceremonial activities such as a farewell send-off or housewarming party, we may do automatically. Society also has built-in ceremonies, like graduation and weddings, which may satisfy the need we feel. Sometimes the shift from denial to acceptance is all that is needed to ease our anxiety, allowing us to bring our memories with us as we move through nervousness to joyful excitement about the good to come.