Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

I'm Baaack...At Least for a Bit

Long time no post. So what brings me back? Quirky Dutch Summer.

Week 1 has me making my own art journal.  This sent me on a field trip to Hobby Lobby where I found quite a deal on journals, canvases and a pad of primed sheets of canvas. (More than 75% off.)

I then dug through a very old stash of acrylic paint. All of my art supplies are in the garage after I cleaned out my office for Thanksgiving a year and a half ago. I needed room for a long table. I also didn't want my company seeing my messy workspace. I've not brought much in since then. That's what I'm liking about Quirky Dutch Summer. It has me playing in my art stuff again.

I have no plans this summer and my youngest is about to leave for cousin camp, giving me plenty of time to get my hands dirty.

So let me show you what I've made.

First I painted the front of the canvas.

Then I painted the back and let them dry overnight. 

I folded the edges over and glued them down. I used Aleene's Clear Tacky Glue. Not too bad, but then it took a good effort to keep the edges down. 

Next I  freehand drew a mandala on the cover.

I followed Marit's directions on book binding and ended up with my very own handmade art journal. Not my first, but definitely the easiest I've ever made.
Now we wait for Week 2. At least it will get this blog going again for the next two months or so. 

See you next week. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

I Love a Giveaway

Doodling, Tangling, Zentangling....I've been doing these for years. Last year I joined the Tangle It! Pattern Club. It's a great source of inspiration. The folks there are Ah-Mazing!

Well, is holding a giveaway. The prize? a Tangle-It Planner. It's not only a planner, it also has tips, tricks and suggested tools for keeping a Tangled Planner.
Click HERE for the giveaway

Here are some of my latest tangles and doodles.

Wanna join the fun? Go to Facebook and join Tangle It! Pattern Club.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Here I Am - Three Years Later

It's interesting how it still hurts to really talk about how much I miss you. However, it does get better. Everyday I feel better. 

When you first left so suddenly, the pain was so strong, crippling, paralyzing. Then the numbness came. I had to work. I had to become an automaton. Get up, help the kids, go to work, help other people's kids, get along with coworkers, drive home, be a mom. Lather, rinse, repeat. I did find out I was difficult to be around so I had to numb myself some more.
Dusty Shoes - Post Canyon Hike
Getting Goofy at Disneyland

The following summer, I took the kids on our dream road trip seeing everything you and I said we would see with all of our kids (eight in total). Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Washington, Colorado. We saw it all, minus a few kids. It was fun and sad all at the same time. Visiting your relatives was especially poignant. Sitting out in your uncle's backyard, I could imagine you sitting out there chewing the fat, sipping a beer, watching the sun set, wishing you could see your family more often. That year I found CrossFit and Fit Camp. Exercise became my outlet. It meant working out at 7:30 at night in order to get classes for free. I also had to rely on Caitlin to pick up James from football practice so I could make time for myself. I slowly felt my sanity coming back, and I had the added benefit of being healthier. I still dreaded driving home from work and the gym in silence. No more bluetooth conversations discussing our workdays and our fitness achievements.

Yeah, I was lost.

The next summer, I still needed to get away. I found myself in Arizona, hiking the trails of Sedona. As I got lost more than once, the solitude provided me with the quiet I needed to reflect on what direction I wanted the rest of my life to go. I could no longer maintain the status quo. Something had to change. That's when I made the decision to improve myself professionally. I researched what would take to become a school administrator, borrowed the money from my mom and enrolled in a principal certification program. Your encouragement was noticeably absent.

This summer is underway with no major trips for me in the foreseeable future. Instead, I am wrapping up the nine month process of earning my principal certificate. I have passed the test. I have completed my major coursework. I have four more days of required professional development, and then I am officially done. DONE. DONE! I know you are proud. 

Today I have new struggles. As life goes on, I meet people who never knew you as the other half of me. They don't understand why today is a sad day.  We never got to be married. We didn't get to share a name (even though I told you I would never change my name again. LOL.) Our unique relationship is hard to describe. People also love to ask if I am ready to date. Why do they do that? There is no simple answer. I know there is no replacement for you. I know that you want me to be happy. I don't like sitting home watching Netflix without you, but I don't have what it takes to forge new friendships at this time. There is only so much energy, and mine is dedicated to advancing my career and ensuring James's and Caitlin's wellbeing. 

Despite these obstacles, I'm doing okay. I've accepted that it will never be the way it was. I don't expect it to be. Instead I live a new kind of normal - one that finds me achieving new things and wishing I could call tell you all about it.
Your memory wall

On the anniversary of your passing, I won't dwell on the negative. I will use this day to honor you and your memory by reflecting on the progress I've made and anticipating the progress yet to come.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Mistress of Make Do

One of my favorite online/TV people is Ree Drummond - AKA The Pioneer Woman. When I need something tasty, I often choose her recipes over those of other celebrities like Martha Stewart or Ina Garten. The PW makes meals that aren't complicated but full of flavor and appeal to everyone in my family.

The easiest recipe I have found on her site is for oven roasted potato wedges. The problem with most recipes in my house, however, is I don't always have all of the ingredients. This means I either have to forego the recipe or make do with what I have in the pantry. This weekend like most weekends was a make-do kind of day.

I really wanted to have potatoes, but when I looked through the pantry and fridge, I found I was short ingredients like olive oil. I also am not eating butter this month (say it ain't so!). This left me wondering what to do. I then looked in the closet and found a jar of coconut oil. I couldn't figure out how to pour a solid over potatoes. Then it hit me, Warm it up! After melting it in the microwave for a few seconds, I poured it over the potatoes and mixed in a variety of seasonings  I found in the cupboard (salt, pepper, garlic powder, cajun seasoning) before throwing it in the oven 450 degrees on a foil-lined pan that I sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

The result? Golden tasty potato-y goodness.
 Straight out of the oven - hard to resist burning the fingers.

The Mistress of Make Do is in love with these potatoes, and they are perfect for my current Whole30 way of life. I might have to make them every week.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Reason #2367 Why I Don't Sleep

I was asleep until my cell phone rang. It was my house phone calling. Why is my house phone calling? Hello? Hello? James is that you? Click
Me: (debating whether to get up or not and finally getting up to look for the phone.)
James, why do you have the phone?
James: I thought there was someone looking through my window?
Me: (confused how he saw someone in the window with the lights off, dark outside and the view of the  window blocked by a bookcase. )
Give me the phone. (Hanging it up and heading to bed)
James: Sorry, mom.
Me: Goodnight  (but now I'm curious. Did he really see someone? Dang it! Putting on winter coat and boots, I head outside with the phone as if I could do anything)

Now I lay awake when I should be asleep since I have class tomorrow morning. And people wonder why I don't leave him home alone.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I guess that's so. When you look at photos taken by Ansel Adams or Annie Liebowitz, they definitely tell a story. The only difference between your photos and photographers like these two is you may never see yourself in a museum or on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. That doesn't diminish the stories that your photos tell.

Take for example this photo that showed up in my newsfeed today. What do you see?

The man was my Sweetie Bobby. He would have turned 50 on Monday.

The car was his pride and joy. There was a carwash near his house that offered a rain check up to three days after your first wash. He used that raincheck and would upgrade to a full wash every time. When asked what kind of air freshener, he would always get New Leather. He took very good care of it, making sure to get the oil changed as directed and rotating the tires regularly. He needed to do this because his job had him driving long distance, and every three weeks he drove nine hours through the West Texas heat to see me.

In addition to the car, I see plaid shorts and gray trainers. He was a khaki pants, "dad jean" wearing kind of guy. He felt dressed up if he wore Dockers deck shoes. Bobby let me dress him, choose his clothes and even his shoes. So when I see those plaid shorts, I smile because it shows how much he valued my opinion.

Another thing I notice are his calves. When he would go to the gym, he would get on the elliptical machine and bang out the miles. He would call me after the gym and rib me about how many calories he had burned. Bobby also learned about spin class at the gym. There was something about the loud music and frenetic pace that grabbed his attention.

You may notice he is taking a picture. It was probably with an iPhone. That man loved technology, especially his Apple products. I once converted him to Android but it was short-lived. When the next iPhone came out, he immediately switched. His dining room was not a dining room. It was his technology center where he took apart computers or experimented with Raspberry Pi circuits.

Lastly, you will see that this photo was taken in the mountains. Bobby loved the outdoors, camping with his youngest and traveling. This trip was to the McDonald Observatory in the Davis Mountains. When the instructors taught about the planets, stars and satellites, Bobby was all ears. As we left, he was already talking about the next time.

So I challenge you. Find a photo you haven't seen for a while. Look at it carefully. What story does it tell you?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

But You Are so White!

I've heard that many times in my life, and today wasn't much different.

It's actually a funny story. There is a girl who calls me mom. I never did get a chance to officially become her mom because Bobby and I never married. Nonetheless, LM is one of my children.

LM called me today while Caitlin and I were driving down the highway, and just like my other two kids, if she needs me, I'm usually going to do what I can for her. Her question was a funny one. "You speak Spanish, right?" Now the answer to that is a complicated one, but yes, Spanish words have been known to come out of my mouth. So I tell her I do and ask her why. Well, it seems while she was having a garage sale, there was a man there interested in buying a car she had. However, he only spoke Spanish. I tell her I am five minutes away and head over there instead of going to Hobby Lobby.

When I get to the garage sale, I introduce myself to the man who starts talking a mile a minute in Spanish. Uh oh! I give him my overwhelmed look, and he begins to slow down. I tell him what I can about the car, relay his questions to LM and her boyfriend R, and try to translate back to the man what R said. It's quite comical listening to me speak in Spanish at the level of a three year old because I clearly don't know how to say things like timing belt and battery. My Spanish is limited to asking where the bathroom or library is or telling someone that Juan is wearing brown pants. Nevertheless, we settle on a date for the man to come back and see the car when the garage sale isn't going.

As he and I walk away, he thanks me and wonders aloud how I learned Spanish. I explain that my parents are both Puerto Rican but I grew up here (Texas) to which he responds with the typical, "You're so white."

Growing up in America with Puerto Rican parents, I have learned a few things. 1) There are people of many races in Puerto Rico. 2) That seems to be the truth in any country. 3) Even Hispanic people can be ignorant to the fact that Latin American people come in many colors.

And this is why I gave this man my usual response. I nodded and smiled.

Some of my many Puerto Rican cousins. (2005)

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