Saturday, July 19, 2014

Checking in on my Summer Bucket List

A few months ago I printed my summer bucket list. That list included learning how to make homemade ice cream. I thought that I would purchase my own ice cream maker, but then I decided to borrow some friends' ice cream maker, just in case. What I have discovered is making home made ice cream is a little like buying a chicken in Tijuana (Designing Women reference). First you have to soak the bucket, then you have to chill the canister. Next you have to make the base. Then you have to chill the base. Eventually you have to fill the bucket with ice and salt, but not before you crush the ice. Then you finally get to turn on the machine, but you have to watch it every 15 minutes to fill it with MORE hand-crushed ice until...finally...after buying salt and ingredients and spending several hours making this, you have 3 servings of ice cream. Needless to say, I was thankful for friends who own every kitchen appliance known to man so that I could learn that, while I will check this off my bucket list, I won't be purchasing a maker anytime soon. At least now I won't grumble at the cost of good ice cream.

I have slowly but surely been learning to play my guitar. Full disclosure, I purchased a Chord Buddy and have been going through the steps. I know, I know, that's the wimp's way out. But the truth of the matter is, I have owned and sold, owned and sold and owned again, a guitar several times in my life. I may be a great teacher, but I am a lousy student. I knew if I was ever really going to learn, I needed a way to cheat. So far I am doing okay. I can play several songs, however, the Chord Buddy only lets you play songs in the key of G and that is not quite in my singing range. I have had some setbacks, for example, when my husband asked me if I was playing "Holy, Holy, Holy" and I yelled back, "RING OF FIRE!!!!" But, as long as I get there, right?

I have been teaching my daughter to cook. She has made black beans and yellow rice with cheese and pineapple salsa, pork chops and apple slaw AND she made an awesome french toast one night. We tried to make bread during the hurricane, but that was an oops and we are going to try again one rainy day.

I am making the Red Hot Cinnamon pickles this week, although, sadly, my garden has been slow to produce. I have gotten full size vegetables (last year I only managed to grow miniature things), but I get a cucumber and a tomato or two at a time. Enough to use in my meals, but not enough to jar.

So I have one more month of summer vacation. I am working on an upcycled coiled t-shirt rug and E is making a fringe rug, but other than that I am pretty much trying to stay out of trouble.

Oh yeah, I did accidentally dye my hair a goth black. It was horrible. So today, after the ice cream is finally ready, I am going to attempt to dye it back to a more natural light brown. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Baby Steps and Beyond

Something has happened to my child this summer. She has changed and mutated and sometimes I feel as if I have lost her to this thing called "teen". This "teen" disease snuck up on us too soon because, after all, she is only 12. But somewhere along the line this year, her box-shaped t-shirts became fitted, v-neck t-shirts. Her hastily pulled back ponytail has become 10 minutes of primping in the morning to straighten her hair. Her plain jeans have given way to shorts that, although completely appropriate, can't make me stop growling at the boys who only see her extremely long legs. Her "up at the crack of dawn" eagerness has pushed further and further into mid-morning, stumbling out of bed at 8:30 or later. The first time this summer she slept until 8:00, I listened at her closed bedroom door to make sure I could hear her rustling about.

Her attitude hasn't changed. She is still the sweet-natured child who is always willing to help and very rarely complains. But last summer, if she was awake, she was content to be in the same room with me. She enjoyed going places with me. This summer she spent the first week in her room rearranging her nest and now she disappears into it for hours on end. She reads, listens to music and texts her friends all in this space where I no longer dare enter. This "teen" disease means that suddenly I am not enough for her.

The real shock came when her school assistant principal called to personally ask that we enroll her in 3 high school courses. She is 12. She is a rising 8th grader. She skipped second grade so she is even younger than her school mates. And yet, here she will be, taking 3 high school courses because, really, that is what she needs to challenge her. But that also means that she will be 3 courses ahead in high school and the goal is for her to fill those slots her senior year with college courses offered through the school district. How in the world did I go from gawky, awkward tomboy child to a college student in the blink of an eye?

I just feel sad that this is all happening so soon. I want to do what is best for her and I know that I need to allow her to grow up, but at this very moment she is walking with her BFF down to the boardwalk to play in the arcade. I am not there to protect her from perverts, thieves, drugs, cigarettes, bad choices, bad drivers and BOYS!!!! Somehow she became old enough and wise enough to be able to protect herself. And it all happened in a heartbeat.

Someone needs to tell you when you are going to experience last times. If I had known that I was holding her hand as I crossed the street for the last time, I would have held it tighter and cherished it more. Or I might not have grumbled when she woke me up because she was afraid of the thunder that last time. All those last times I wish I could call back and get one more chance to do it right are just gone. Everyone tells you it goes so fast and to enjoy every moment because you will miss it, but when they are young, you think "yeah, right" because you are just too busy keeping them from sticking things up their nose or drinking pretty colored things that have skulls on the bottles.

I am so happy that I have this wonderful, smart, driven young woman as my daughter. She is so beautiful both inside and outside that she makes me hurt. I know that up to this point I have done my job well. But now my job makes me hurt, because it means standing back and letting her make her own way. It means being there when she starts to fall off the path, but not push her back onto the way I would have her go. Sometime this summer, her life became her own. Lord, I hope I am ready.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Spirits in the Coves

I think it is safe to say I have had my fair share of paranormal happenings. I have witnessed the wolf creatures at Old Man's Cave in Ohio, communicated with murder victims, seen shadow figures and interacted with ghostly presences. I occasionally deliver messages and have prophetic dreams. All of these things I have learned to take in stride. What I haven't learned to cope with is residual energy.

I know, it seems silly. Here I spent months being haunted by women victimized by a serial killer and yet, stand-alone incidences of essentially paranormal photographs are what freak me out.

Every year my little trio of family pack our bags and head into the mountains to meet Hubby's parents and his brother's family. One year it was Tennessee, one year it was Georgia, one year it was South Carolina and this year it was North Carolina. While I like the mountains, I find the "aura" there very disturbing. Here on my little island I have learned to filter and block the every day stuff, but for some reason, I can't shield myself in the mountains.

This year we rented a cabin about 2 miles off the beaten path and right on the side of a mountain. To get there we had to drive down into a cove and then up. I hate cove's. HATE THEM!!! Several years ago I went through Cade's Cove. Everyone else talked about how peaceful and how beautiful it was out there. Not me. I spent the entire day trying to ignore images of long gone people. Not interacting, just images. I thought it was just that particular place until this trip. To get to our cabin we had to drive down the mountain, through a cove and back up the mountain.

At the bottom of this cove was an active homestead house that looked to be well over 100 years old. It was extremely well taken care of and very charming, but it was filled with images. There were so many images that I actually became disoriented as to what was real and what was not. At one point, I looked out into a field and saw a large, white-haired man wearing overalls, a t-shirt and a red bandanna using a sickle to beat back the bushes. I instantly turned to Hubby and said, "You see him too, don't you?" Hubby did, but that is how much a cove can trick me. I mean, who actually uses sickles anymore?

I don't know why coves are so active. Maybe they are just active to me. All I know is I think I would end up on some sort of psychotropic medicine if I moved to the mountains.