Friday, December 30, 2005

I had a beaded hair net once

Back in the '80s I had the prettiest hair net you ever did see. It always got me compliments. My best recollection is the time I wore it to the Bolshoi Ballet in Los Angeles and as I walked down the stairs with my husband a girl behind us said, "Look at that. I want one." I positively glowed overhearing that, don't 'cha know.

The thing is, I picked it up at a drugstore for about a dollar. It was one of those old fashioned nylon hair nets that are so light that they're not supposed to show. The one I bought was brown, but it was beaded. It had tiny multicolored beads woven into it. It came in one of those old fashioned envelopes so I felt kind of stupid buying it, but it turned out to be one of my best purchases ever. I just totally lucked out in finding it.

When my son was one and a half he got into the drawer I had it in and basically, his little sticky hands were fascinated by it and he ruined it. I tried and tried to untangle it but couldn't. It was way too light and fine. Had to deep six it and I've never come across one like it since. I can find vintage hair nets, but none with seed beads.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Computer housekeeping

Last night I spent a couple hours burning photo images to four CDs. I freed up 2.6 gigs. My computer feels so good now.

Since purchasing my machine in May my shut down time has slowly crept up to nearly one minute. I mean, the other night I clicked shut-down, went to the bathroom, came back, and my laptop was still in shut-down mode. I despise how software developers take the liberty of placing their programs on auto start-up. So I ran msconfig and deleted about ten items from automatically starting up and running in the background. I unchecked the following:

Real Player
msmessages
Hp Digital Imaging
HP Image Zone
qttask
HPWuSchd2
hpcmpmgr
RAMASST
gcasServ
ctfmon

I used Start-up Inspector to look up the items that I wasn't familiar with such as RAMASST. My shut down time is back to 15 seconds.

Adobe sent out my Photoshop upgrade so I'm anxiously, excitedly, awaiting! That's why I'm cleaning up my machine. I just want everything nice and shiny for installation. I will have a steep learning curve right off the bat. The upgrade is called Photoshop CS2 but really it's Photoshop 9. Some marketing geekazoids went crazy and renamed it Creative Suite. I skipped Photoshop 7 and Photoshop Creative Suite 1 (aka Photoshop 8). And I'm upgrading to Creative Suite 2 (aka Photoshop 9). They should have just stuck with the numerals.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Calendars as gifts

Man, my brain is fried. I just spend hours on the Shutterfly site uploading, arranging, cropping, and putting captions on a calendar I "designed." Okay, I did the photography and let Shutterfly do pretty much the rest. It took me an hour to figure out how to add recipients and mailing addresses so I could have calendars mailed directly to my family. Nice convenience. I hope they turn out well. They look pretty online. I read several posts from women who were pleased with the service. I ordered six. It all totaled $88.33. That price includes shipping to six different addresses: my mom, my dad, my sister, my eldest son, my sweet step-sister, and me. It's a good deal. I saved $59.00 because now till the 31st they're offering a special discount; buy one at $19.99 and get the second at 50% off. Twenty dollars for one is steep and that's what you pay before Christmas. Wait till after Christmas like me, and yay, you save! Avoiding the hassle of driving to the copy shop, waiting in line, fretting over whether the help gets it done right, and having to mail them myself makes it worth every penny. I just hope they turn out...

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Progress with my blue heron


A little better Posted by Picasa

This guy was more of a poser. He didn't fly away. Actually he's sitting on a tiny island and I can't get any closer so he feels safe and comfy.

My batteries went dead and I failed to bring my extra set. What an amateur! I got all the pictures I wanted so no biggie. Although, I want to go back to try different settings and I want to try continuous burst mode, but I need him to fly away too, yet I don't want to bother him and make him fly away. Maybe I'll go find those ducks...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Adobe Photoshop upgrade for me!

My husband got me the latest Photoshop upgrade for Christmas. Oh la la. I can't wait to install it. I have 6.0 and never bought the 7.0 version because it didn't actually have anything awesome that I had to have, but Photoshop CS2 sure does. I have to phone tomorrow and ask them to snail mail me a CD though. I tried to download the software but our satellite modem doesn't like it. Darn it. I could be playing with it right now.

I got my husband some socket sets and a combination wrench. Can you say woo-hoo. :-/ He has a box for me to open too. He always gets me things I want and LOVE and I am never able to get him anything really good. I'm terrible at giving him presents. It makes me feel a little bad. It's been 21 years and still I'm not good at giving him gifts. He wants a new shiny exhaust pipe thing for the truck, but I can't just walk in a store and buy an exhaust system. I tell myself gifts aren't my strong suit, and he's still with me after all these years, so maybe I have a different strong suit. Hopefully.

For our first anniversary he got me Madonna boots. Who remembers those? I wore them with socks, cutoff tights, and a shamefully short mini skirt. Back then in college, I danced six days a week and one day a guy walked by and said I had nice legs. I said, "What?" like I was deaf or something and he said it again. I was embarrassed. It was nice of him to say though. Twice even!

I still have those boots. I take 'em out of my closet now and then, dust them off, rub 'em with my sleeve, to bring back the shine. I tend to linger over them. But then I carefully return them to their place, the exact same spot. I can see where they belong because no dust has gathered where the soles rest. I don't go that far in my closet very often. They're just shoes, I know that. But they're also piece of my life. My history. It's like, there's a little tiny bit of my heart there, back in the back of the closet. I love those shoes. Well, I love my husband.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Honeysuckle EO

I received the honeysuckle essential oil that I ordered online. It smells sweet! Tomorrow I think I'll add a few drops to some sweet almond oil. I read that sweet almond oil is the most popular of carrier oils. I'd like to have a nice fragrance to wear but there are so few that I like and so many are just so, overwhelming. Don't people know that a fragrance shouldn't announce itself before you enter the room? Only people very close to you should smell your perfume. Loud fragrance is just like YELLING AT EVERYONE AROUND YOU.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Here come da judge!


Here come da judge! Posted by Picasa

Gambel's Quail. Male. Is he a fat dude or what? We love the warbling sound they make in the morning. Our son puts seed out for them. Lots of the campers do, and so they don't miss many meals!

Blue Heron


Bird Posted by Picasa

I drive the truck down where I know he is. He hangs out at the same place every day. He hears me and thinks, oh nooo, not her again, and gives a horrible, loud squawk as he flies off.

Kara wrote and told me he's a blue heron. Thanks Kara!

Kettle Top Butte Posted by Picasa

Duck in grayscale


In grayscale Posted by Picasa

There's lots of dead Saltcedar in the water, also called Tamarisk. It's an exotic plant actually, originally from Eurasia. It's considered a pest now because it sucks up a lot of water and squeezes out native vegetation. I'm fascinated by how it looks in the water. This body of water is a sort of big pond near the Rio Grande. Maybe it's at lower elevation and that's why the water collects here.

Today's sunset Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Chloride, New Mexico


The bank that never opened Posted by Picasa

Today's pics from our visit to Chloride, New Mexico. A little town of 70 souls. The museum was closed because they're preparing for a Christmas party and bingo tonight. Cute. They invited us but it's a little far from us.

The only bank in Chloride. Built of native stone. It failed before it even opened. The United States government adopted gold as the monetary standard and the price of silver plummeted. It precipitated the so-called silver crash of 1893 because no longer was it worth the work to haul the silver out of the hills. Sad I think, no one is restoring or saving the little building from ruin. Apparently someone took the timber from the roof in the 1940s to re-use (which was not uncommon in the early days). It's been withering away ever since.

If you will be spending much time in the area, an excellent book is Elephant Butte-Eastern Black Range Region, Journey from Desert Lakes to Mountain Ghost Towns, Scenic Trips to the Geologic Past No. 16 by Lozinsky, Harrison, Lekson.

No one actually hung here


The Hanging Tree Posted by Picasa

The saloon was nearby and though no one ever really got hung from the hanging tree, my book says, "it was used to chain overzealous cowboys when they had too much booze and got too rowdy during the dances. They would chain the miscreant to the tree by the wrist or ankle until he sobered up or promised to behave himself." Ha!

It's a Shell Oak and supposed to be about 200 years old. It's not very big for such an old tree.

Dish satellite service for outhouse


Outhouse with a dish Posted by Picasa

It must be very nice inside.

Coyote


Coyote in the distance Posted by Picasa

A healthy, beautiful coyote across the street.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Dreams

Today during my nap I dreamt about hearts. Purple and pink hearts free floating. It was such a good dream.

Herbs in my hair rinse


Dried herbs to concoct an infusion Posted by Picasa

I made my own hair rinse today. I poured one pint (that being 16 ounces) of boiling water over two teaspoons each of burdock root, calendula, and comfey leaf. (Comfey leaf? Did I type Comfey leaf? I meant Comfrey.) You let it steep 30 minutes then add a few tablespoons of white vinegar. I used bottled water to boot. I would like to say I used distilled water, but I used our fluoridated water for babies. I didn't have a coffee filter to filter the infusion so I used a Puff kleenex, unused of course. Hey, I live in a trailer you know.

I poured the infusion (which is just a fancy way to say tea) over my head last as a final rinse. Didn't rinse it out. Hair came out nice. The only thing I noted that I didn't care for was that my very end ends were a little crunchy. I put monoi oil on ends when hair dried.

Which leads me to add, I let my hair dry completely before combing it out. It's supposed to be good to let the hair dry completely before combing out because hair can stretch so much when wet. Stretching the hair is something long hairs want to avoid. Well when I combed it out it was pretty. There was a wee bit more wave, but I'm into waves now that I'm off the blow-dryer.

I just feel so good tonight. I've been sick with a mean headcold since Monday and today I kicked it. I went for a walk, my new 1.4 mile loop, and I did walk - not run. Came home and took a nap. I couldn't help it. I was completely tired out! Geez.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A puzzle page

This is a fun little puzzle. http://www.brl.ntt.co.jp/people/hara/fly.swf

Homemade cosmetics URL

I was noodling around last night and found a neat site about making your own cosmetics. Beauty Recipes

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

March of the Penguin

We watched March of the Penguin tonight and I give it five thumbs up. It was good. I thought the beginning was pixilated but it was real, live photography.

We have DVD players on our new computers so we can watch movies!

Tomorrow morning I'm going to a tribal belly dance class at, ugh, 9:30 in the morning. I hope I wake up looking half way decent. I came down with a headcold last night. :(

Sunday, December 11, 2005

New reading glasses

My little boy surprised me with a pair of new reading glasses from the drug store. They have copper colored rims and they're really narrow, just like granny glasses. I love them! I look so intelligent when I wear these. At least, I think I do? They even come with their own little storage holder. I had a cute pair with red and purple Swarovski crystals, but, they got all scratched up and some of my crystals fell off.

I want a pair of black, sash Melodia pants real, real bad. Melodia's online payment form doesn't work though.

Leia posted a recipe for Honey Oatmeal cookies and I tried it out tonight. They're delicous. My crew of two ate half of them before I even finished baking! It's easy. Here's Leia's recipe. I think they should be called Oatmeal Coconut Cookies.

Honey Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients
- 1 cup oats
- 1 cup plain flour (8 oz)
- 1 cup sugar (8 oz)
- 3/4 cup ground coconut (2 1/4 oz)
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) butter
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp boiling water

Directions
1. Mix oats, flour, sugar and coconut together.
2. Melt butter and syrup.
3. Mix baking soda with boiling water, add to melted butter mixture, and stir into dry ingredients.
4. Place tablespoons of mixture on trays.
5. Bake at 325° for 15-20 (mine cooked in 15) minutes. They should be golden brown.

I'm going to make these for our neighbors for Christmas. I made 20 cookies so I'll have to double the recipe next time. And, I might add some chocolate chips to see if they work.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Belly dance workshops

I'm beat! My thighs are sore and I even have a tummy ache tonight from over exertion. I attended workshops for Tribal Style, veil and turban wrapping, and Tahitian dance. Actually I didn't care to do the Tahitian workshop because I totally don't want to mix up my middle eastern dance vocabulary with Polynesian movement, but I was there and it was next, so I took it. I miss my class and my teacher, Aziza, from southern California very much tonight. After taking this class, I am a little blue from missing them. I miss the familiarity of routines I know and the women I knew.

The teachers were full of heart and a love of the dance and I learned some new moves. I danced worse than I used to though. Well, is that such a surprise? I haven't moved for seven months. Give me a big tissue will ya! I got compliments on my dancing when I danced in Homer, Alaska in May, but today I received none. One teacher said I looked very good, but it wasn't a comment about my dancing so much as my figure. I'm not saying that's bad, but somehow it didn't make me feel good at all. Ya know?

I did get a compliment on my hair though. That made me kind of happy. The girl, she was young, asked me how to make my hairstyle (a Chinese bun) and complimented my hair color. I find this unusual, coming from a young woman. I think there's a new batch of womanhood coming of age! She trimmed her own hair and it was perfect all the way across. I told her I was amazed she did it herself and she showed me how she did it.

An interesting comment she made, one I wish I'd asked her to expound upon, she said she'd been through some terrible times and she cut her hair as part of a sort of, recovery. She said hair can hold memories and cutting it off freed her from those bad memories contained therein. I imagine this is related to some sort of mystic belief since not a few belly dancers practice paganism. I don't buy it, but it's a fascinating thought and I'd like to know from whence it originated.

I took so long in the shower getting ready to go that I had to rush to be on time. I did not have time to apply one whit of make-up. Bah! What kind of dancer goes to class without at least eyeliner? Me. Never did I go to a class without make-up before.

I'm signing up for a weekly Tribal class, Wednesdays from 9:30am to 10:30am. I'll have make-up on for class for sure! I'll probably do a scalp wash to be sure my hair is not tinky. (Since our second son was born, we always say "tinky" for "stinky" at our house.)

Friday, December 09, 2005

We are campground volunteers!

We've been selected to work as campground volunteers in the great state of New Mexico. Hooray for New Mexico! We love it here.

What does it mean to be a campground volunteer? It means you work for 24 hours a week and in return you get to live in a camp space for free. Not only that. Most of the sites here offer only water and electricity but volunteers also get a sewer line. Yay! That means you don't have to dump your grey tank and you can use as much water as you like. This is good for showers and doing dishes and everything else you take for granted - when you live in a house.

My husband is fixing the hose and water faucet outside to hopefully keep it from freezing solid tonight. They say this weather is unusually cold. It's supposed to warm up a bit soon.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I jogged .8 miles today

I had to stop to walk twice. Half way, I thought my lungs were going to explode. As I dragged my buns the final .4 miles, my husband looked up and saw me so I picked my knees up and ran in the best form I could remember. My husband waved and I put both arms up in a victory sign just like Rocky did at the top of the stairs. Then he looked away, and man, I was draggin' again. Must look good when your man looks over, at any cost. Then I went in the trailer and did stretches on the floor which is quite a small area. Last, I shimmied, did figure eights, infinities, camels, and invisible zilling.

There's going to be a middle eastern dance day of workshops nearby on Saturday which is why I'm practicing. They're offering Tribal Style, Egyptian, Yoga, Tribal Indo Fusion, open dance drumming, and a veil wrap class. Then a hafla (middle eastern celebration with food and dance) Saturday night. I'm looking forward to it! I emailed an instructor I found via the Web and she's starting a 9 week dance session that I may sign up for. What luck. So, this is why I went on a jog today. I miss having a treadmill where I can sweat and huff and puff alone. I bought a Danskin jog suit especially for running just in case people see me. I've never had one before. Couple weeks ago we saw a busty gal jogging down the street and she looked like she was gonna knock herself out with the girls. I said, uh-uh, that's not going to be me so I found a superb jog bra at Dillard's. It's the best one I've ever had. Usually I run in my husband's sleep shorts and a jog bra but I can't do that in public. Well, I can't get in shape in two days, but at least I can feel more confident in my mind. The teacher here looked up my previous instructor and hinted that guest dancers are welcome at the restaurant she dances at on Wednesdays from 5 to 8pm. An exciting and scary prospect! I'm so out of shape...

Caballo Lake State Park, NM


Caballo Lake State Park, NM Posted by Picasa

During the day the mountains are drab brown, but when the sun starts setting, oh boy, you get a show.

It doesn't say so on the New Mexico State Parks Web site, but there are sites with full hook-ups available here. Most of the state parks have only water and electricity.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tootsie the dog


Tootsie the dog and her master Posted by Picasa

Our son snapped this photo with his camera! I felt it was striking and I asked him if I could use it in my blog.

This is Carleton, our neighbor in our row at Lion's Beach for a few days when we were at Elephant Butte Lake State Park in New Mexico. Carleton's wife has a form of lupus that keeps her home so she no longer goes camping with him as she used to. This is Tootsie, and she was a real sweetie! Our son fell in love with her immediately and made friends with Carleton. Tootsie has a dog friend at home who mothers her and licks her ears a lot, even though Tootsie is eight years old now. Look at that one ear standing up. lol!

You get to know certain people on the road. While the time you spend with them is short, some touch your life deeply. Some people just stay on your heart. Carleton's mom was murdered in a horrible, terrible way. She was in her 80s and lived alone. He gave us some delicious pinto beans and hot sauce and tortillas (made by his wife). The home cooked food was scrumptious! He gave us some good travel magazines to read. He had part of two fingers missing but we don't know why. He was pleasant to talk to and seemed to have such a gentle personality. Like his wife, his own health was beginning to fail. He left before we did because his wife told him she missed him and it was time to go home. He had developed emphysema and was hoping he could breathe better, without the use of an oxygen tank, at lower elevation. He could. We miss Carleton, and little Tootsie too.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

New herbs + water under the bridge

Good heavens. It's been a week since I wrote? Ah well. I have a good excuse. The past rears up its ugly head every decade or so and tries to run me over. Thanks to my father who has run interference for me for almost 25 years now, the past has been put back to bed. It took a small toll on me. But I have returned! Hooray! ...100% Liliana, no broken parts.

Good hair news. Yesterday we stopped in Las Cruces and I got to go to a fairly good health food store. I want to make my own herbal rinse, so I bought some dried herbs. You boil one pint water, let herbs steep for 30 minutes, strain, add 1/4 cup vinegar, apply to hair as a final rinse, as in don't rinse the rinse out. I think I'll add a little less vinegar though. I bought a couple ounces each:

Comfrey leaf - High protein conditioner for dry hair
Hibiscus
Chamomile - promotes healthy growth, common rinse for blondes
Rosehips
Burdock root - reduces shedding, good for skin ailments like eczema
Calendula
Lemon grass
Spearmint

I wanted sandalwood which is useful as a conditioner but they had none. I wanted to try yarrow which Elvea highly recommends, but they had none. It's got perfect yin/yang, and who doesn't want perfect yin/yang? They carried no Indian herbs so no shikakai, reetha, or neem. I want to try those sometime. I wanted soapwort or yucca for shampoo, but they had none. I was momentarily tempted to buy flaxseed or primrose oil in capsule form. My husband asked why would I even consider it when I've always had some of the healthiest hair he ever saw. Well, he's a husband and what does he know, but in this case, I figure he's pretty much right. We're not pill people. If I didn't eat right, then I'd take diet supplements. He's always been a stickler for meals together and a proper, balanced diet. He's good for me.

Long ago, when I was a girl of 18, I married very badly. In November of 1978 I sought assistance for domestic abuse. My new baby boy was six months old. He's 27 now and I'm so proud of him because is good and strong. He would never lay a hand on a woman. He doesn't use drugs or drink, though addictive personalities are present on both sides of his family. He works, and I daresay is well off for a young man of his age. He owns a home and rents an apartment. He has Jesus in his heart. In short, and it's no accident, he is all the things his natural father is not. He wanted to look up his natural father, not realizing what kind of person he is, because I never told him.

My father did what he is so good at; smoothing things out without ruffling anyone's feathers (too badly). My step-mom did some great research and they sent my son a copy of my ex-husband's county criminal, civil, domestic, and mental public records. These are easily accessible online nowadays. My own name was at the bottom of the domestic abuse records. My son decided not to look up his natural father and for that, I am thankful. As my father says, it's all water under the bridge now. And there, I want it to stay. This was my hard time last week. On a long walk, I laid it all on the Lord, and it has worked out. Family is good to have when you need them.

I like writing about my hair better. :)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Shopping in Las Cruces, NM


The picture of failure Posted by Picasa

Las Cruces means "The Crosses" in Spanish.

I need new blue jeans really bad. My favorite pair, I wear them a lot, well the seam in the inner thigh is popping apart. Sigh. How I hate shopping for pants.

When we lived in Southern California I always wondered what Dillard's was. Now I've been in a Dillard's. It's a great store. They carry Wacoal bras. Those are the best.

This is a picture of failure for me though. I marched in, went shopping, and left with nothing. Nothing. Nada. Zip. It's very sad. I threw my pants away this morning. I'll have to make due with others that aren't my favorite until I can buy a pair I really like.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Chicken soup made with love

I made delicious homemade chicken soup tonight. It's easy peasy to make, and so good for you. Now I'm making chocolate chip cookies at our son's request. He was a big help with mixing. He's got the strongest little arms.

Church gave me a complete attitude readjustment. I went in ready to kill the world and came out all happy, happy, joy, joy. Nothing big really happened, but somehow just dragging my behind out of bed and getting myself in there pulled me all back together.

My husband is not funny lately. I told him he needs to go to humorist's school because he is so very unfunny. He said if he's not funny then why am I laughing. I can't help it that's why, but I'm not telling him he's funny or it'll encourage him. He's so puerile. I, in contrast, am far more mature.

I believe I would like to visit Europe! Also, I've been thinking I'd like to take us to Africa someday. Before we traveled much through the United States I thought, no way, Africa is too far away and you have to get shots. But now that we've been traveling for six months I think I've changed my mind. I need to decide which tribes I'd like to meet and which places are safe for visitors, with a child.

I mixed some gardenia perfume oil with my shea butter. Now it stinks. I like the gardenia fragrance in my monoi oil so much better. I threw out the gardenia perfume oil. I'll have to use up the gardenia shea butter on my feet. My feet won't care. Good thing I only made up a (relatively) small amount.

Tonight is the first night of Advent. At dinner we lit the first candle in our Advent wreath, the candle symbolizing Hope. I had our son read a couple verses from Isaiah. We sang O Come All Ye Faithful. Our usual Advent wreath is a fancy gold circular candle holder but it's in storage so today my husband took me to the store and I bought a square of styrofoam and stuck the candles in it. I was going to have our son pick some creosote to decorate the base (usually one uses evergreen) but it was SO windy today he couldn't do it. Instead, all on his own, he used green construction paper. I think this is the nicest Advent wreath we ever had. I think this is going to be the best Christmas we ever had.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Digital scrapbooking

Heaven help me. Will you look at this? It's called digital scrapbooking! Looks like it could be addictive. I never got into actual scrapbooking but this I could dig. As if I need to spend more time with photos and Photoshop.

I make calendars for family each year and found a cute scrapbooking calendar package for $6.99. Just drop in your own photos. I think I'm going to get it.

The worst

I am the worst Christian. I'm having to start over on my not saying bad words yet again today. Hellooooo. I'm starting over and over and over lately. What's the poinnnnnt. Now, two days in a row I'm starting over. And after I went for about two months with a clean mouth too. "May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be pleasing to you." I could just stop trying and be done with it. And it's all my husband's fault. He makes me do it! Every single time it's been because of him. He says don't worry, just let a few bad words out, you're done, and go on. Yeah, and he's an ex-sailor. He says don't hold it in because I tend to hold things in then very, very slowly I have a nuclear melt down. This is my Christian support? Bah!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Going for a drive

We're going for a drive to see some petroglyphs.

We were almost going to be camp hosts at Elephant Butte Lake State Park. We like it here and if you work as a camp host you get a camping space for free with full hook-ups. If you're just a regular camper then you only have fresh water and electricity. This means that every few days one must connect up to the truck and go empty the grey water tank. It would be mighty nice to have the full hook-up deal and save money to boot. We'll see what the Lord has in store for us.

In New Mexico the post office and state parks fly their flags at half staff when a soldier dies in Iraq. They don't do that in California. I was wondering why. Maybe too many Califonians die and they'd have to put the flag down too often? I will have to find out the reason.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Fried chicken and swirly bun

I cooked fried chicken and made gravy tonight. It turned out real good. It's my husband's favorite dish that I make (and I don't make much). My aunt in Nebraska taught me how to fry.

Tonight I made my first swirly bun. I like it so well I may sleep in it. I've been trying to make one for, oh, about three days. I just couldn't seem to do it, then tonight I tried again and got it. See, you just have to keep trying.

Two nights ago I finished my Mitford series books. I loved the seventh (and last) one. Now there are no more for me to read. How sad. I hated book number six though. Why in the world would the author go back and do a whole book just on the wedding. I couldn't bear it. Dull, boring. I seriously skimmed 90% of it. Book six just stinks.

Up and down, peaks and valleys

Finding my life verse was such a thrill that I was flying high. I'd wanted one for so long and finding the right one, mine, was a tall order. After I found it I floated down to earth and then crashed! Sunday I felt terrible and empty all day long. Actually, my husband went to the store which is a good distance and I started feeling bad right after he left. Plus, I read a story in an online paper about a bad crime. I wish I hadn't read it. I got a stomach ache from it which didn't help matters. I cannot read Ann Rule or any sort of horror stories or I'll wake in the night screaming. Husband says I'm too impressionable.

So all day I felt rather awful and horrible and then that night got on my computer, thinking and surfing about gifts to make for Christmas. Last summer I found a beading magazine with three new patterns for barefoot sandals and I felt rich! like I hit the jackpot. It took me 1/2 hour to find it (wonder of wonders, how can you lose something in 24 feet of space?), then I was shopping online for beads when I remembered how interested I was in making a rosary or a chaplet last year. I haven't beaded at all since we left home. I thought I would do it in winter when the weather was bad but here in New Mexico it's quite sunny. Cool, but sunny. So it all rushed back to me and I revisited some sites I liked about making a rosary and saying the rosary and I suddenly felt wonderful again. Funny how something so small can completely turn your world around.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Added olive oil to diet

I made Italian dressing last night, you know the Good Seasons brand packages and cruet you buy at the store? I used extra virgin olive oil for the oil! It tasted good. Olive oil is healthy food for your heart. Yeah, yeah, that's great, but more important, it's good for your hair.

My son saw me mixing it up and said, "Isn't that the olive oil for your hair Mamma?" I told him it was and he said, "I'm not eating that. It's for hair." Sigh. It's not like I dip my hair right in the bottle you know.

Better hair


Hair pics Posted by Picasa

In August I was unhappy with how my hair was looking and feeling (I hate this picture). I liked that it was finally feeling longer, yet it wasn't looking g-o-o-d like a girl wants look. You'd think that because hair is dead you'd be stuck, but because dead hair does respond to TLC you can improve it, thank goodness.

Last month I stopped blow-frying, cold turkey baby. Huge step. I still miss the blow-dryer but as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. I was using Suave shampoo and Aubrey Organics cream rinse, and in October I changed to Body Shop Honey Moisturizing Shampoo and the conditioner too. They are as Leia says, very moisturizing, moreso than any product I've used. I think this better enables me to wash once a week. I think the Suave pretty well stripped all natural oils clean. The Honey Moisturizing shampoo does make my hair squeak though, so I wonder if it also strips the oils the same way. Dunno, but it's working better for me.

I do a white vinegar rinse every week. I was suspicious that the ACV was leaving a slightly red tint on my hair and I don't need more of that so I changed to white. I've decreased the vin to water dilution (or do I say solution) too. I was using say, 40% vinegar and 60% water because I was freaking out about keeping my scalp clean and not itchy. I, ahem, may have been overdoing it. No ill effects, but less might be better. This week I did 1/4 cup vin mixed with 2 cups water. I do the vin last on my scalp, but use the conditioner last on my ends.

My hair was so luxurious after I washed it this week! Now that I've been washing once a week for a month (was doing every five days) I can wear my hair down if I want for four days after a wash, but day five and after, must wear up!

I'm pleased with how it's growing out after my September trim. I was a little bummed to have to cut three inches off, but I'm glad I did. I'm amazed by the difference in the two photos. It's like, I trimmed, I stopped using the blow-fryer, I cut down even more on washes, changed products, and Whoa! It's shinier, looks healthier and thicker, and I'm on my way to longer lengths again. Or, it's like my pony started going the wrong way but I turned him around and I'm back on track again. Yay! Or, like in roller derby, I'm on the Thunderbirds and Raquel pushed me down and kicked me and I'm up again and I'm gonna catch up with her highness and yank her arm and pull her hair and put my knee in her back till she screams. Oh dear me, how'd I get down this bunny trail? (My favorite saying from Michele!)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

My life verse

A life verse is like an ongoing theme for your life. Your motto. It's a verse or a chapter from the Bible that's custom fit for you. You don't really need one but it's nice to have one if you want one. It's a satisfying process to search, reflect, contemplate and take that which is inside thy self and turn it outside thy self. Oops, I didn't mean to go King James on you!

I'd been reading my Bible as Kara suggested. Immersed myself in the Word but I was coming up with zip. But I'd also been reading the Mitford Series. They're "wholesome" books with a Christian theme and the author, Jan Karon, has much knowledge of the bible which she deftly weaves throughout the stories. Since reading her books my conversations have been peppered with colorful phrases like "I'll be et for a tater" and "Boy howdy" and "Yer gonna make my glass eye cry." Fun! And I did not overlook the fact that the character Olivia has her own life verse and she mentions it and leans on it often.

In the fifth book of the series on page 194 in the chapter entitled Worms to Butterflies, the erstwhile secretary tells Father Timothy that she'll do a deep web search for him and says "I'll get right on it." And she adds "And I'll pray. Sometimes I pray while I surf."

And it hit me! I pray a lot. Each morning when I wake I ask the Lord how he'll use me today. I pray when I do dishes. I pray each day, every night. I even took a test at my last church and I scored so high on intercessory prayer that the assistant pastor said, "I really shouldn't do this yet, but would you pray for me and be on my prayer team? I said I'd pray on it and let him know. Not really! That was a fake-a-rooney! I told him yes immediately. I was happy to do so. To this day I still pray for him.

Then the synapses started really firin' in my brain. The first verse I ever memorized was 1Thessalonians 5:17. Bam! I smiled to myself. I knew I was onto something, but I didn't want to get too overly excited immediately in case I might be wrong. So I just lie in bed smiling in the dark like an idiot because I couldn't help myself.

The question was, how do I know for certain if it's the right one? I mean, the Bible is a pretty big collection of books. Sixty-six of 'em you know. It's not like God's going to do the pop-in and say, "Yes Liliana, you chose correctly. You are done." And, truth be told, I had actually been hoping for something a leetle more esoteric. Something the average Joe wouldn't understand. (Yes I am full of myself.) So I cogitated some more and then it dawned on me that the numerals 5 and 17 were of great significance in my life.

Our eldest son is 27. He went to a religious private school for three years in elementary and I dutifully went to church with him once a year for the Christmas show. Thought I was a good mom. We moved and from sixth grade through high school I encouraged him to join the youth group and he did, every year. Through all those years, I remember attending church with him one time. The church was within easy walking distance. I drove by it but I never saw it. (Which really in itself depicts my spiritual self at the time. I was very busy.) But I thought I was a good mom. I made my kid be in the church youth group. Check off the box, cross it off the list, I'm done.

Nineteen years later, along comes surprise vasectomy baby and it occurred to me I ought to visit God's house and give Him an official thank you for a healthy baby and a good life. Boy howdy, it was not easy. To this day I run from hugs and cringe at handshakes. But I was compelled. The spirit of the Lord was whispering in my ear. And on the day I was there they played a video on a humongous screen that felt like it filled the whole church. The topic was how parents are responsible for nurturing and fostering the spiritual growth of their own offspring. It was about how we shouldn't just drop off our kids in Sunday School or youth group and leave their spiritual growth up to someone else. I got all tight and choked up, trying to keep my composure while I held in hot tears that stung my eyes. I could see the truth in it. I knew that video was for me. I finally realized that my husband and I who conferred life upon this new, little person were responsible for ensuring that he knows Jesus, that he develops a personal relationship with Him, and ultimately that he knows he's part of the Great Commission. I was transformed that day. Hey, this stuff is not for the faint of heart!

Our second baby's birth date is 5/17. So here's my verse.

1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 17.

Look it up!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Never say seagull


Ring-billed Gull Posted by Picasa

At the 13th annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival (in Homer, Alaska) last year I came away learning one thing. Don't ever call a gull a seagull. It just isn't done, if you call yourself any kind of birder that is. I'm not really a birder but I try to fake like I'm one.

If you have your crayons out, there's a Ring-billed Gull coloring page at Enchanted Learning.

This gull liked to pose. I talked to him softly and he listened and listened, seemingly intently. I told him how purty he was, and what a fine beak he had, and I complimented him on his fine yellow legs. Well it was all an attempt to get closer but, drats, he flew off. The sunset shone lovely on the water though.

I talked today with a lady from Santa Fe. She looked very Santa Feish with long grey, braided tresses, small build, simply dressed, very connected to the earth, a conservationist. She rented out her house and is traveling in a really cute trailer. It was from her that I got the idea to talk to the gull. I'm not much of a talker and I don't usually talk to birds. But she talked to a roadrunner today and the roadrunner approached her, then turned and ran inside her trailer! My son told me about it and we rode our bikes up, me with camera in hand. But she had picked him up and taken him out of her trailer already. He was climbing up her screens and of course she couldn't let him do that. She came from Germany about 30 years ago and said there's no camping in Germany like ours in the U.S.A. She said if you do camp in Germany you are packed in rows like sardines. That's no good, is it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

My new kitchen faucet


Sexy faucet Posted by Picasa

I have a wonderful husband who went out at night time and bought me a new, awesome, kitchen faucet. Our old one sprung a leak! Luckily it wasn't while I was using it so I didn't get blamed. It has a circle near the base that is red for hot and blue for cold so you'll never forget and accidentally go the wrong way. It's not plastic so it doesn't SQUEAK like my old one. I can take the head off and make a spray to wash the pans. The old one had a scratch on it so good riddance to that. (I didn't put it there, but I won't say who did or that I know what day it got there.) It's very shiny and very sparkly. I added three sparklies with Photoshop so if you can find find them you win the door prize. They're small and subtle, but they're in your mind now. It's the best thing in my whole trailer and my husband put it in just for me. He hurt his back and his finger and bumped his head when he was installing it. Plus he got a headache. It's Delta you know, with a lifetime warranty, and it's washerless. What more could a woman ask for? I do not know! I love my husband.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I found my life verse tonight

I found it. I'm just going to let it simmer in my mind a bit, enjoy the fact that I found it, then I'll write about it later.

I feel really good. It's good to have a blog!

Friday, November 11, 2005

My blog is one year old today!


A blog party! One year ago today... Posted by Picasa

I started a blog, November 11, 2004. Look how far I've come. Look how much I've done. This has got to be worth...something. Our little boy made me a hat to celebrate. The beads glued on say "I love Mamma."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

These Ding Dongs are killing me

I can't stop eating the Ding Dongs. Help, help!!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oliver Lee Memorial State Park


Ocotillo at sunset Posted by Picasa

This is our last night here. Boo hoo. Tomorrow morning we leave. The good news is we're staying in New Mexico. The weather was in the 80s today. Absolutely splendid.

I used fill flash. I couldn't see in my little LCD that it turned out so well. I feel I cut the bottom off a little though. I should have stepped back a couple more steps. I had to lay all the way down on the concrete to capture the sky behind. Nobody saw me. Good thing.

Southern California, yesterday's election

Why did Californians vote for Arnold?

Why even put Arnold in office? He's making an honest attempt to make things better and first thing this morning what do I hear? Voters have rejected his initiatives, every one of them. They could have kept Grey Davis in office if they don't want to endorse anything Arnold has. They could have kept Grey and let it be business as usual. Arnold has the best interest of California at heart.

And don't start me on illegal immigration. The sheer number of illegals will destroy us. We can't afford to support the numbers of illegals enrolling their kids in public schools, birthing babies in the hospitals, being sent to prison. The costs are crushing us. Outrageous. We can't possibly now, afford to deport them. The numbers are too huge! We can't afford to not to deport them either. And there's the rub. Eat that with your Wheaties this morning. This is one thing Bush has dropped the ball on. He's a Texan. He knows the issues surrounding this problem as well as any Californian, yet he does nothing. I'm not against immigration. I'm against illegal immigration.

You're going to continue to see migration out of California. Last year 100,000 more people left Califonia than came. People like us are leaving - retirees, and young families as well. The people who remain will be the illegals and those who voted against the initiatives. Liberals are ruining my state. And let's not talk about the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Nutcakes trying to make laws, the latest being there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children, either independent of their right to direct the upbringing and education of their children or encompassed by it. Judges are supposed to be decision-makers not activists.

We're going someplace better with fewer illegals, lower taxes, cleaner air, less crowding, lower home prices. And I won't miss the loud talking people with boom boxes in their trunks, pants hanging below their butts, a constant chip on their shoulder cause they havent' been treated well enough by the world.

'Twas my home all my life. But California isn't California any more. Even the sand at my beloved Pacific Beach is full of cigarette butts and on all four sides of me, foreign speaking sun bathers wear long pants and hats. I can't live here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

New Mexico International Space Museum


A museum display Posted by Picasa

Through the glass. A description of the first explosion of an atomic bomb in New Mexico. The missile range is nearby. Sometimes White Sands National Monument is closed till 10:00am if the planes are flying overhead. They're not regular jets either - look like B2 bomber types in the triangular shape. One morning we thought there was an earthquake (we're from California). We were sure it was. But no, it was something they were doing on the missile range in the early morning.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Sundown in New Mexico


Unretouched sunset Posted by Picasa

No words. Love the sunsets.

Purple prickly pear


Purple prickly pear munched Posted by Picasa

I've looked and looked every evening and every day for wildlife. This is what I found today. I have no idea how the critters can eat this cacti. It's not uncommon to find edges munched like this one. At Brantley Lake State Park my husband found pieces of prickly pear like this one in the middle of the road two mornings in a row.

Today I saw one lizard, one cottontail, two cowboy New Mexican men (very friendly), and some birdies. Am still looking to sight a gray fox. Tomorrow I'll look some more.

Mamma look over there


It looks like one of our presidents Posted by Picasa

See pic below...

It's no Mount Rushmore


A face in the rock Posted by Picasa

Yipes. I told him, nah, it's just the rocks looking like a face. He thought it look like one of the presidents at Mount Rushmore. The Apaches used to use the canyon. I'll check at the visitor's center to find out.

Conviction, men, Black Beauty, hipsters

I was walking through the creosote looking for arrowheads and gray foxes and thinking of a radio show I listened to today. Faithfulness, faithfulness, faithfulness, was all I could remember. I knew the next word I was looking for started with a C but I couldn't find it in my head. Then, after a prickly pear poked me I found it. Conviction. Faithfulness without conviction. Is reading juicy online gossip practicing faithfulness without conviction. I think we can safely say, or collectively yell, YES. Does reading gossip glorify God, does commenting on gossip glorify God, does willfully mingling with gossipers glorify God? Not bloody likely. Today I stopped reading the gossip site I found a few weeks ago. What a waste of my time. It's not easy you know, just stopping. With a click I can be there and who would know. (Tick, tock, tick, tock...Who with a capital letter, that's Who.)

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There are a lot of manly men in New Mexico. Lots of big mustaches. My husband said it's because there are lots of cowboys here. I never really thought of New Mexico as being cowboy country, but I guess it is. There was a great deal of ranching in the area a hundred years ago. After the Civil War southern families who lost everything came to New Mexico for a new start. They don't sell alcohol in restaurants on Sundays here. (My husband tried to order a margarita tonight.)

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In Wal-Mart I waited in the truck while my husband went inside. I was so sad to see a big, strong, strapping young man carrying his baby in a big, plastic baby carrier, the kind that straps into a car. He lugged that baby through the parking lot as if he were too tired to be carrying his own child. Big, strong, young man like that should have been ashamed of himself. The baby's head was being bopped around like a sack of potatoes. His wife walked beside him. Wordlessly, they climbed into their truck and drove off. Girls should be careful who they dilly dally with. Marry a man like that and your life will be hard and sad. I'll bet her heart cries, but she daren't cry on the outside. A hard life allows no room for tears.

§§§§§§

We're reading Black Beauty for bedtime. It's the only book Anna Sewell ever wrote and she wrote it because horses were often badly abused and she wanted to change the world, the way people treated horses. Anna was a Quaker, and broke both ankles in a fall when she was fourteen and was crippled (or she may have had a degenerative bone disease, we don't know). She never knew how hugely popular her book would become. She died a mere five months after its publication.

§§§§§§

We went to church this morning and our son thoroughly enjoyed the Sunday School. My husband popped in during the service to be sure he was fine and he and all the other kids were sitting quietly and the speaker had their rapt attention. The pastor and his wife were very good. This town is small and the congregation small. The singing and the music were excellent. They sang all songs I didn't know which was unusual. Usually I know at least one! Being from southern California I'm used to seeing hipsters in church - you know, tons of make-up, hair just so, tight clothes, tummies showing, even miniskirts. But here, none of that at all. It was a rough crowd I would say, but the worship was soooo good. I felt the singers were singing strictly for the Lord, not as a show. At home, the singers felt a bit like a performance.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Received our mail today


Mamma, I like this, and this, and this Posted by Picasa

Our mail forwarding service usually throws away all third class mail, but they forgot to this time. We were getting ready to toss all the junk catalogs when our son said, "Oh no, I'll read them." And read them he did. He sat for half an hour and thumbed through every single catalog. Dollar signs in his eyes! Each one finished he tossed onto the front lawn like a drunken sailor.

(He picked 'em all up and put them in the dumpster later. Of course!)